Neurofeedback: A “Best Support” Intervention for ADHD

In November 2012, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) elevated neurofeedback to a “Level 1- Best Support” intervention for Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorders. Neurofeedback is the mechanism we use at NEURO+ to train the ADHD brain to function properly. In short, neurofeedback uses visual or auditory representations of brain activity to make the patient aware of what is healthy brain activity, and then provides a technique to help them achieve and maintain that healthy activity. For more information and evidence on neurofeedback and our product, please see our earlier post.

So what does this endorsement by the AAP mean? Previously, neurofeedback was classified as a “Level 2- Good Support” intervention for ADHD. Now, neurofeedback sits among medication and behavioral therapy as an equally viable and successful intervention. To achieve a Level 1 status, interventions need to have three things:

1. At least two randomized trials demonstrating efficacy by being either superior to placebo or equivalent to another Level 1 intervention in a pre- post change paradigm with significant statistical power.

2. Experiments conducted with treatment manuals.

3. Effects demonstrated by two or more investigator teams.

The studies that helped to promote neurofeedback demonstrated that the treatment condition showed improvements in both impulsivity and attention on a range of measures and tasks.   Moreover, neurofeedback has been shown to solve many of the fundamental problems in patients with ADHD like dysregulation of the arousal system, perceptual focus problems and stressed brain syndrome…all without taking medication!

The AAP is a consortium of over 60,000 American pediatricians who work to advise all pediatricians on best practices. They are the foremost trusted entity in pediatrics. Their validation of neurofeedback has sparked a surge of research in the field. Investigators and entrepreneurs alike have recognized biofeedback as a domain ripe for progress and success. We have taken an integrative approach to neurofeedback by combining the behavioral therapy with a captivating video game platform.

While the AAP’s recognition of neurofeedback has increased the incentives in research and business, it has also raised some important questions and controversies. Will the FDA approve neurofeedback as a treatment for ADHD? Neurofeedback is still a rather costly investment…will health insurance companies consider covering it now? Given the increase in diagnosis of ADHD in older people, will neurofeedback’s endorsement be extended to adults? How can we translate this new technology to make it the most accessible to the largest population?