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Natural Awakenings Greater Boston - Rhode Island

Brain Training for ADHD

Sep 30, 2015 11:16AM ● By Dianne Kosto

Neurofeedback, also known as EEG biofeedback, trains children to become more aware of their physiological responses and how to gain control of the brain’s frontal lobe, which is the executive functioning center. The American Academy of Pediatrics approved neurofeedback as a Level 1 or “best support” treatment option for children suffering from attention and hyperactivity issues.

Children with ADHD have higher rates of EEG abnormalities compared to children without ADHD, such as higher theta wave rhythms (drowsiness), lower sensorimotor rhythms (movement control), and lower beta waves (attention and memory processes). It also has been studied and reported that the brains of children with ADHD are lacking regulation from the frontal region, allowing the mid-brain to quickly react without a type of checking system. Neurofeedback restores the strength of the frontal region of the brain, and builds a better connection between the mid-brain and forebrain, allowing focus, attention, impulses and emotional reactions to become manageable.

During a neurofeedback session, EEG sensors are situated on the scalp. Specific brain wave activity is then detected, amplified and the information is instantaneously fed back to the technician and client on a screen. With the help of a video game or movie, the individual’s brain is guided to maintain the correct pattern or the game will not continue to play. With this, the individual exercises the brain and increases focus and attention. The brain quickly recognizes this treatment as positive feedback, thus striving to produce these more efficient brain waves more often. Parents will typically see a reduction of symptoms within the first 10 sessions.

Methylphenidate (Ritalin) is a psychostimulant drug commonly used for the treatment of ADHD in children and adolescents. Nearly all pharmaceuticals create some type of side effects, and most psychostimulants suppress appetite. This can lead to weight loss, which is not necessarily desirable in all cases, especially growing children. Psychostimulants can also cause difficulty sleeping, nervousness or restlessness, and elevated heart rate and blood pressure. This can make them unsuitable for many individuals, such as those with anxiety, bipolar depression, or predisposition to cardiovascular problems.

Neurofeedback can be an equally effective treatment. For parents that prefer other options aside from medication, neurofeedback is an effective, non-invasive and no-stress option with permanent change. More than 40 years of neurofeedback research and more recent clinical use has shown both a reduction in symptoms and enhancement of subjective feelings of well-being, without unwanted or negative effects. This stands in stark contrast to almost all medications. This makes neurofeedback therapy especially appealing and useful for those that do poorly on most medications designed for their particular condition or do not want the risk of side effects and unknown longer term issues.

Dianne Kosto, BCN-T, is owner of Braincore Neurofeedback, located at 132 Central St., Ste. 205A, in Foxboro. To learn more, call 1-844-272-4666 or visit