Research and Evidence

Research and Evidence

9th Annual Conference
Monterey, CA 27-30 October 2001

Comparison of Videogame and Standard EEG Biofeedback With AD/HD Children: Results of the First Concept Study.

Roger J. deBeus, PhD, Olafur S. Palsson, PsyD, Alan T. Pope, PhD, John D. Ball, PhD, Marsha J. Turner, MA
Riverside EEG Biofeedback Services (RJD), Mindspire, LLC. (OSP), NASA Langley Research Center (ATP), Eastern Virginia Medical School (JDB & MJT)

Objectives: This project was a randomized and controlled technology concept study, funded by NASA's Langley Research Center. The study assessed whether a new video game biofeedback technology developed at NASA Langley Research Center was as effective as traditional neurofeedback in treating Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), and whether there were significant differences in its appeal as a clinical method compared to standard neurofeedback treatment.

Participants: Twenty-two children with ADHD of the hyperactive-impulsive subtype (DSM-IV criteria plus physician diagnosis) participated. The age range was 9-13 years and there were 3 girls and 19 boys. All the children were on short-acting medications for ADHD. The children had to be of at least normal intelligence, and have no history of affective problems or learning disabilities.

Design: The children were randomized into treatment groups: video game (n=11) vs. standard neurofeedback (n=11). Children in both groups completed 40 individual treatment sessions, usually seen once or twice a week. The children came for one test session before and after treatment, where they completed a QEEG, TOVA and neuropsychological tests. BASC Monitor data was collected pre-and post-treatment and every ten sessions. Children in both groups were trained with a single active Cz electrode, with reference electrode and ground attached to the earlobes.

Equipment: The video game group equipment consisted of J&J I-330 EEG hardware, NASA-built modulation unit and a modified game controller used with a standard Playstation console. Training displays were EEG-influenced off-the-shelf Sony Playstation games. The standard group equipment consisted of Thought Technology ProComp+ hardware and Multitrace Software. Displays were bar graphs and simple figures representing changes in SMR, beta and theta bands.

Results: BASC Monitor and TOVA scores indicated similar significant improvements in both groups. No significant difference in treatment change was seen in between-group comparisons. Parents' subjective appraisal of treatment effect on ADHD was more positive for the video game group. The video game treatment was rated significantly more enjoyable by both parents and children. Trends on pre-post QEEG change maps indicated that the video game training may have advantages in creating more quantitative EEG effect in the therapeutic direction.

Conclusions: We conclude that the video game biofeedback technology, as implemented in the NASA prototype tested, produced equivalent results to standard neurofeedback in effects on ADHD symptoms. Both the video game and standard neurofeedback improved the functioning of children with ADHD substantially above the benefits of medication. The video game technology provided advantages over standard neurofeedback treatment in terms of enjoyment for the children and positive parent perception, and possibly has stronger quantitative post-treatment effects on EEG.

Patient Success Stories

"I can't say enough good things about Brain Wellness Center and all their staff! Everyone is super friendly and knowledgeable, and they were able to explain everything to me I'm simple layman's terms… 
Jason J.
"I have struggled with depression my whole life, and for those who also suffer from it, you know It not only affects you, but everyone around you. I had tried multiple medications, but they either we… 
Leonard S.
"Brain Wellness Center changed my life from the beginning. At first I was skeptical just like you all probably are, saying that this procedure would have a decrease or a complete recovery from depres… 
Gianella A.

  Disclaimer:  Our treatments can improve brain function but are not a cure. Results vary for different individuals. Each person's experience is unique, and what works for one patient may not work for another.       Statistical data doesn't apply to individual patients, as no treatment is effective for 100% of patients.