Wendy Hanzlik, M.S.
Education: Bachelor of Science in social science (August 1999)
Master of Science in student counseling/personnel services from Kansas State University
McNair Project: Neurofeedback Therapy for Adults with Attention Deficit Disorder (1997)
Mentor: Arthur Rathbun, M.S.
A study on the use of neurofeedback therapy for adults with attention-deficit / hyperactivity disorder was conducted using neurofeedback training. Two participants, each diagnosed with ADD/ADHD, were chosen for the study: a 32-year-old male, college graduate, and a 22-year-old male, college senior. Training sessions on the F1000 Instrumentation System--consisting of 14 sessions with four-five minute trials-per session and two minute breaks between each trial--were conducted. A single channel electroencephalograph was used--over the central Rolandic Cortex--to monitor the subjects as they attempted to increase their 14 Hz EEG while decreasing the lower MHZ cycle (6-8 MHZ). A vertical bar graph to the left of the monitor displayed the theta wave readout and a vertical bar to the right displayed the beta wave readout. The program was set up so that when the theta waves dropped below 2 micro volts and the beta waves rose above 2 micro volts, an auditory feedback would be heard in tones. When this occurred a circle would light up, providing visual feedback, between the theta and beta measures. Prior to the start of each session, a review of the goals was discussed while the theta and beta measures were still present on the screen. The Brown Attention-Deficit Disorder Scale was used for pre- and post-measurements to look for behavioral changes that occurred during the study.
Participant 1: the Brown Attention Deficit Disorder Scale showed no significant change in the total score, remaining at a T Score of 91. There were changes, however, amongst three of the five clusters that the test looked at: Activation went from a T Score of 84 to 89, which is a negative effect, but the T Score for Effort went from 86 to 81 and for Memory the T Score went from 85 to 82. The latter two were promising of movement toward significant change in the ADD characteristics. The number of crossovers during the fourteen sessions was higher to begin with and lower toward the end, but when the number of crossovers due to movement were subtracted, the true number of crossovers steadily increased, showing progress. Participant 2: the Brown Attention Deficit Disorder Scale showed promise toward a significant change in the total score, going from a T Score of 77 to 73. There were also changes amongst two of the five clusters that the test looked at: T Score for Effort went from 78 to 71 and for Memory the T Score went from 72 to 68, both continuing toward significant change in the ADD characteristics. The number of crossovers during the fourteen sessions escalated from each session and peaking at the seventh session where it remained at these high levels.
The objects of this study were to design protocol for a future study involving a greater number of individuals with ADD/ADHD, and to show the possibilities of using neurofeedback to aide in the treatment of this disorder. Hyperactivity appears to play a part in the scoring of the number of crossovers recorded. Subtracting the crossovers that were caused due to movement decreases in the number of true crossovers; this presents a possibility of using this protocol to measure hyperactivity and observe its decrease as the sessions continue as was seen with participant number one. Lengthening the time of each session to seven minutes with two minute breaks in between and running three trials instead of four may be more effective; doing so will make the time spent feel shorter when they are actually getting in one more minute of training. These changes, I hypothesize, would greatly increase the behavioral changes shown in this study. Further testing of this protocol, including the modifications I have suggested, will be an asset to the further use of neurofeedback as part of a multi-modal treatment.