Neuroscience, Meet Clinical Psychology


Autism Spectrum

Autism and Aspberger’s Syndrome
There is a quite significant body of research that has now appeared on the neurofeedback treatment of autism and Asperger’s Syndrome (Coben & Myers, 2010; Coben & Pudolsky,
2007a; Jarusiuwicz, 2002; Knezevic, Thompson, & Thompson, 2010; Kouijzer, de Moor, Gerrits, Buitelaar, & van Schie, 2009; Kouijzer, de Moor, Gerrits, Congedo, & van Schie, 2009; Kouijzer, van Schie, de Moor, Gerrits, & Buitelaar, 2010; Pineda et al., 2007; Pineda et al., 2008; Scolnick, 2005; Sichel, Fehmi, & Goldstein, 1995).

L. Thompson, Thompson, and Reid (2010) reported on a case series of 150 Asperger’s Syndrome patients and nine autism spectrum disorder patients who received 40 to 60 sessions, commonly with some supplementary peripheral biofeedback. They found very statistically significant improvements in measures of attention, impulsivity, auditory and visual attention, reading, spelling, arithmetic, EEG measures, and an average full scale IQ score gain of 9 points.
Some of the studies just cited were control group studies. There has also been a placebocontrolled study (Pineda et al., 2008), and there have been 6-month (Kouijzer et al., 2010) and 1-year follow-ups (Kouijzer et al., 2009) documenting maintenance of positive results.


A review of neurofeedback with autism spectrum problems, which includes a review of unpublished papers presented as scientific meetings, has been published by Coben, Linden, and Myers (2010). In an as-yet-unpublished study cited by those authors using neurofeedback and HEG training, Coben found a 42% reduction in overall autistic symptoms, including a 55% decrease in social interaction deficits and improvements in communication and social interaction deficits of 55% and 52%, respectively. Overall, neurofeedback has positive research support as a beneficial treatment with autism spectrum problems, with findings of positive changes in brain function, attention, IQ, impulsivity, and parental assessments of other problem behaviors such as communication, stereotyped and repetitive behavior, reciprocal social interactions, and sociability. Although neurofeedback is certainly not a cure for these conditions, it appears to usually produce significant improvements in these chronic conditions.


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