Research and publications
Neurofeedback for autism spectrum disorders (ASD)
Assessment-guided neurofeedback for autistic spectrum disorder.
Coben, R., & Pudolsky, I. (2007).
Journal of Neurotherapy,11(1), 5-23.
Background. Research reviewing the epidemiology of Autism (Medical Research Council, 2001) indicated that approximately 60 per 10,000 children (1/166) are diagnosed with Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD).
Jarusiewicz (2002) published the only controlled study documenting the effectiveness of neurofeedback for Autism based on one outcome measure. The present study extended these findings with a larger sample size, broader range of assessments, and physiological measures of brain functioning.
Methods. Assessment- guided neurofeedback was conducted in 20 sessions for 37 patients with ASD. The experimental and control groups were matched for age, gender, race, handedness, other treatments, and severity of ASD.
Results. Improved ratings of ASD symptoms reflected an 89% success rate. Statistical analyses revealed significant improvement in Autistics who received Neurofeedback compared to a wait list control group. Other major findings included a 40% reduction in core ASD symptomatology (indicated by ATEC Total Scores), and 76% of the experimental group had decreased hyper-connectivity. Reduced cerebral hyperconnectivity was associated with positive clinical outcomes in this population. In all cases of reported improvement in ASD symptomatology, positive treatment outcomes were confirmed by neuropsychological and neurophysiological assessment.
Conclusions. Evidence from multiple measures has demonstrated that neurofeedback can be an effective treatment for ASD. In this population, a crucial factor in explaining improved clinical outcomes in the experimental group may be the use of assessment-guided neurofeedback to reduce cerebral hyperconnectivity. Implications of these findings are discussed.
Efficacy of neurofeedback for children in the autistic spectrum: A pilot study.
Journal of Neurotherapy, 6(4), 39-49.
Background. The efficacy of neurofeedback training was evaluated in 12 Children in the autistic spectrum with matched controls, based on established training protocols for other conditions with similar symptoms.
Method. Twenty-four autistic children were divided into two groups, matched by sex, age, and disorder severity. One group received neurofeedback training and the second acted as a control group. Responses to the Autism Treatment Evaluation Checklists (ATEC) and parental assessments of problem behaviors were analyzed to evaluate the effectiveness of neurofeedback training for this condition.
Results. Neurofeedback training resulted in a 26% average reduction in total ATEC rated autism symptoms, compared to 3% for the control group. Parental assessments reported improvement in all behavioral categories: socialization, vocalization, anxiety, schoolwork, tantrums, and sleep, compared with minimal changes in the control group.
Discussion. Autistic spectrum children who underwent neurofeedback training showed significant improvements in autism symptoms and behaviors. The magnitude of improvement was independent of initial severity or age.
Long-term effects of neurofeedback treatment in autism.
Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, 3, 496-501.
Previously we demonstrated significant improvement of executive functions and social behavior in children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) treated with 40 sessions of EEG neurofeedback in a nonrandomized waiting list control group design.
In this paper we extend these findings by reporting the long-term results of neurofeedback treatment in the same group of children with ASD after 12 months.
The present study indicates maintenance of improvement of executive functions and social behavior after 12 months in comparison with the immediate outcomes.
Neurofeedback mediated suppression of theta power is supposed to promote more flexible functioning of the brain by enhancing activation in the medial prefrontal cortex and improving flexibility of activation in the default mode network supporting the improvement of executive functions and theory of mind in ASD. high-functioning ASD children, but does not affect imitation behavior per se.
Autism – Genetics, electrophysiology and clinical syndromes.
Autism is a severe and the most heritable developmental disorder, whose pathogenesis is still largely unknown.
The rising incidence of autism in the last decade has increased the scientific interest and research. More than a thousand papers concerned with information about the etiology of this "static disorder of the immature brain" can be found on Pub Med.
The aim of this paper is to give a review of published genetic chromosomal anomalies associated with autistic spectrum disorders, as well as to discuss common syndromes associated with autistic traits.
In addition, some of our own findings in genetics, as well as in quantitative electroencephalography and neurofeedback training in autistic children, will be presented and discussed.
Generally, the subsequent analyses indicate that the causes of autism include fewer common single-gene mutations and chromosomal abnormalities, as well as multiple interacting genes of weak effect.
Genome-wide linkage analysis has identified several susceptibility loci and positional and functional candidate genes which appear to represent possible risks of the autistic spectrum.
Electrophysiological findings showed high delta/theta activity in frontal-central regions, while in 25% high beta activity was detected as a result of anxiety. Neurofeedback is a promising therapy for symptom mitigation.