Research Reports - Neurofeedback and traumatic brain injury: a literature review

Ann Clin Psychiatry. 2013 Nov;25(4):289-96

May G, Benson R, Balon R, Boutros N

BACKGROUND: Neurofeedback is a form of biofeedback whereby a patient can learn to
control measurements of brain activity such as those recorded by an
electroencephalogram. It has been explored as a treatment for sequelae of
traumatic brain injury, although the use of neurofeedback remains outside the
realm of routine clinical practice.
METHODS: Google Scholar™ was used to find 22 examples of primary research.
Measures of symptom improvement, neuropsychological testing, and changes in
subjects' quantitative electroencephalogram were included in the analysis. A
single reviewer classified each study according to a rubric devised by 2
societies dedicated to neurofeedback research.
RESULTS: All studies demonstrated positive findings, in that neurofeedback led to
improvement in measures of impairment, whether subjective, objective, or both.
However, placebo-controlled studies were lacking, some reports omitted important
details, and study designs differed to the point where effect size could not be
calculated quantitatively.
CONCLUSIONS: Neurofeedback is a promising treatment that warrants double-blind,
placebo-controlled studies to determine its potential role in the treatment of
traumatic brain injury. Clinicians can advise that some patients report
improvement in a wide range of neuropsychiatric symptoms after undergoing
neurofeedback, although the treatment remains experimental, with no standard

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