Neuroscience, Meet Clinical Psychology


Learning and Developmental

With regard to learning disabilities, Fernandez et al. (2003) demonstrated in a placebo controlled study that neurofeedback was an effective treatment, and the improvements were sustained on 2-year follow-up (Becerra et al., 2006). An additional report by Fernandez (Fernandez et al., 2007) on 16 children with learning disabilities documented significant EEG changes 2 months after neurofeedback compared to a placebo-control group where there were no EEG changes, and 10 of 11 children in the neurofeedback treatment group showed objective changes in academic performance compared with one in five children in the placebo group. Other articles have also been published on the value of neurofeedback with learning disabilities (Orlando & Rivera, 2004; Tansey, 1991a; Thornton & Carmody, 2005). A randomized controlled study with children with dyslexia (Breteler, Arns, Peters, Giepmans, & Verhoeven, 2010) documented significant improvement in spelling, and Walker (2010a; Walker & Norman, 2006) found significant improvements in reading ability in 41 dyslexia cases. In the first 12 cases reported by Walker (Walker & Norman, 2006) after 30 to 35 sessions, all the children had improved at least two grade levels in reading ability. Barnea, Rassis, and Zaidel (2005) identified improvements in reading ability in learning disability children after 20 sessions.

Although controlled research has not been done, Surmeli and Ertem (2007) evaluated whether QEEG-guided neurofeedback could be helpful with Down Syndrome children. All eight children who completed up to 60 treatment sessions (one child dropped out after only eight sessions) showed significant improvement in attention, concentration, impulsivity, behavior problems, speech and vocabulary, and on QEEG measures. Surmeli and Ertem (2010) treated 23 children diagnosed with mild to moderate mental retardation with 80 to 160 QEEG-guided neurofeedback sessions. Twenty-two of 23 showed clinical improvement on the Developmental Behaviour Checklist, and 19 of 23 showed improvement on the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children and a computerized test of attention.


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