Monday, June 10, 2013

Neurofeedback, Focus and Attention

Toluca Lake, California NeurOptimal® colleague Jules Ford (owner of OptiMind Neurofeedback) posted a delightful story in one of our trainer forums about her son's science project. It was a study he designed around neurofeedback and its benefits to focus and attention, issues ADHD kids struggle with daily.

I liked the story so much I asked Jules for permission to publish it here on the blog.
The study was for a seventh grade science project. Here is how it went, in Jules' own words.
After discussing neurofeedback with his teacher, they designed a study together. I volunteered my time for training - but the data collection and analysis was all up to my son. Granted, it was a small sample and since it wasn't all done in a clinical setting it would be disqualified as REAL science, but for a middle school project, the results were amazing.
Study: Does Neurofeedback Help To Improve Focus/Attention?
Nine subjects had five sessions of neurofeedback, nine control subjects did not. Before the study, all were tested using a Lumosity game, Lost In Migration, to get a baseline for their attention/reaction time. After each neurofeedback session, the study subjects took the test again. At similar intervals, the control subjects also re-took the test. All students did the Lumosity game six times. All study subjects did regular NeurOptimal sessions with default music. I allowed them to pass the time however they wanted and saw kids doing Rubik's cubes, homework, reading, texting or playing on their phones, even playing Minecraft on laptops they brought in for that purpose.
When the study was complete, here were the results:
  • Kids who did neurofeedback decreased their response time on the game an average of 27.29% vs. an average of 7.18% decrease for control subjects.
  • Neurofeedback kids also improved their accuracy on the game an average of 6.31% vs. a 2.51% accuracy increase in control subjects.
  • Additionally, those kids who did neurofeedback reported better understanding in math, easier reading, better sleep, decrease in headaches and, my favorite, a student athlete who is 100% crediting his neurofeedback with smoking track times - he set records at his last two meets.
45 hours of neurofeedback time was a lot to give, but I was pleased to give it to help show concretely that NeurOptimal really makes a difference, even in as few as five sessions.
I love this story. Although the children in the study did not have any known diagnoses, the results match my experience working with adults with ADD and ADHD and also for peak performance in work and sports.

Questions or comments? Please post here, or you are also welcome to email me. If you are close to Toluca Lake and want to know more, you can contact Jules.

Catherine Boyer, MA, LCSW
New York Neurofeedback