Purpose of review: Current traditional treatments for ADHD present serious limitations in terms of long-term maintenance of symptom remission and side effects. Here, we provide an overview of the rationale and scientific evidence of the efficacy of neurofeedback in regulating the brain functions in ADHD. We also review the institutional and professional regulation of clinical neurofeedback implementations.
Recent findings: Based on meta-analyses and (large multicenter) randomized controlled trials, three standard neurofeedback training protocols, namely theta/beta (TBR), sensori-motor rhythm (SMR), and slow cortical potential (SCP), turn out to be efficacious and specific. However, the practical implementation of neurofeedback as a clinical treatment is currently not regulated. We conclude that neurofeedback based on standard protocols in ADHD should be considered as a viable treatment alternative and suggest that further research is needed to understand how specific neurofeedback protocols work. Eventually, we emphasize the need for standard neurofeedback training for practitioners and binding standards for use in clinical practice.
Keywords: ADHD; Brain computer interface; Clinical practice; Current status; Neurofeedback.
Conflict of interest statement
Stefanie Enriquez-Geppert and Diede Smit each declare that they have no conflict of interest. Miguel G Pimenta declares that he is a lecturer in neurofeedback for the neuroCare Group (Munich, Germany). Martijn Arns (MAr) reports research grants and options from Brain Resource (Sydney, Australia); owns stock in and serves as Chief Scientific Adviser of the neuroCare Group (Munich, Germany) and Director and Researcher of Research Institute Brainclinics (Nijmegen, Netherlands); is a consultant on a National Institute of Mental Health, US-funded iCAN study (CNG 2013); and is a co-inventor on four patent applications (A61B5/0402; US2007/0299323, A1; WO2010/139361 A1; one pending) related to EEG, neuromodulation, and psychophysiology (not related to neurofeedback). MAr declares no ownership or financial gains for these patents – just authorship.
Enriquez-Geppert S, Smit D, Pimenta MG, Arns M. Neurofeedback as a Treatment Intervention in ADHD: Current Evidence and Practice. Curr Psychiatry Rep. 2019 May 28;21(6):46. doi: 10.1007/s11920-019-1021-4. PMID: 31139966; PMCID: PMC6538574.