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1-year follow-up of neurofeedback treatment in adolescents with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder: randomised controlled trial

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  02 January 2018

Marleen Bink*
Department of Clinical Neuropsychology, VU University Amsterdam, Amsterdam; Scientific Center for Care & Welfare (Tranzo), Tilburg University, Tilburg, The Netherlands
Ilja L. Bongers
GGzECenter for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Eindhoven; Scientific Center for Care & Welfare (Tranzo), Tilburg University, Tilburg, The Netherlands
Arne Popma
Academic Department of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, VUmc/De Bascule, Duivendrecht, The Netherlands
Tieme W. P. Janssen
Department of Clinical Neuropsychology, VU University Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Chijs van Nieuwenhuizen
Scientific Center for Care & Welfare (Tranzo), Tilburg University, Tilburg GGzECenter for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Eindhoven, The Netherlands
Dr Marleen Bink, Department of Clinical Neuropsychology VU University Amsterdam, Van der Boechorststraat 1, 1081 BT Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Email:
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Estimates of the effectiveness of neurofeedback as a treatment for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are mixed.


To investigate the long-term additional effects of neurofeedback (NFB) compared with treatment as usual (TAU) for adolescents with ADHD.


Using a multicentre parallel-randomised controlled trial design, 60 adolescents with a DSM-IV-TR diagnosis of ADHD receiving NFB+TAU (n=41) or TAU (n=19) were followed up. Neurofeedback treatment consisted of approximately 37 sessions of theta/sensorimotor rhythm (SMR)-training on the vertex (Cz). Outcome measures included behavioural self-reports and neurocognitive measures. Allocation to the conditions was unmasked.


At 1-year follow-up, inattention as reported by adolescents was decreased (range ηp2=0.23–0.36, P<0.01) and performance on neurocognitive tasks was faster (range ηp2=0.20–0.67, P<0.005) irrespective of treatment group.


Overall, NFB+TAU was as effective as TAU. Given the absence of robust additional effects of neurofeedback in the current study, results do not support the use of theta/SMR neurofeedback as a treatment for adolescents with ADHD and comorbid disorders in clinical practice.

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Declaration of interest



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