Application of neurofeedback for Autism Spectrum

Assessment-Guided Neurofeedback for Autistic Spectrum Disorder

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.

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Benefit to harm rations are from Rimland (2005) and from this study.

The major findings of this study included an 89% success rate with a 40% reduction in core ASD symptoms, as a result of assessment guided neurofeedback training over 20 sessions. Significant improvement was noted for the experimental group on measures of attention, executive, visual perceptual and language functions. IR imaging confirmed elevated metabolic activity even within the initial treatment session. Enduring change was indicated by enhanced metabolic activity, regulation of output, and maintenance of changes within and across the 20th treatment session. The benefit to harm ratio of 89:1, exceeded all current treatments for ASD as surveyed by Rimland (2005). Seventy-six percent of the experimental group had a decrease in hyperconnectivity patterns. Reduced hyperconnectivity as well as enduring change in metabolic activity confirmed neurophysiological change following neurofeedback.

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.

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