Historically about one third of patients with epilepsy do not benefit from most forms of medical treatment. For these patients electroencephalographic (EEG) neurofeedback is a viable option. EEG biofeedback, or neurofeedback, normalizes or enhances EEG activity by means of operant conditioning. The purpose of this paper is to meta-analyze existing research on neurofeedback and epilepsy.
We analyzed every EEG neurofeedback study indexed in MedLine, PsychInfo, and PsychLit databases between 1970 and 2005 on epilepsy that provided seizure frequency change in response to feedback. Sixty-three studies have been published, 10 of which provided enough outcome information to be included in a meta-analysis. All studies consisted of patients whose seizures were not controlled by medical therapies, which is a very important factor to keep in mind when interpreting the results. Nine of 10 studies reinforced sensorimotor rhythms (SMR) while 1 study trained slow cortical potentials (SCP). All studies reported an overall mean decreased seizure incidence following treatment and 64 out of 87 patients (74%) reported fewer weekly seizures in response to EEG neurofeedback. Treatment effect was mean log (post/pre) where pre and post represent number of seizures per week prior to treatment and at final evaluation, respectively. Due to prevalence of small groups, Hedges’s g was computed for effect size. As sample heterogeneity was possible (Q test, p=.18), random effects were assumed and the effect of intervention was −0.233, SE= 0.057, z −4.11, p<.001. Based on this meta-analysis, neurofeedback was found to produce a significant reduction on seizure frequency. This finding is especially noteworthy given the patient group, individuals who had been unable to control their seizures with medical treatment. This Meta-Analysis comes from several clinicians, researchers, and PhD’s who compiled an in depth analysis on the efficacy of neurofeedback in the treatment of epilepsy and comparable symptoms. This abstract is shorted for editorial purposes. Copyright belongs to EEG and Clinical Neuroscience Society.
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