Neurofeedback, also called ‘brain training’, consists of exercises where individuals regulate their own brain activity. In a new study from Lawson Health Research Institute and Western University, researchers have found that neurofeedback may be an effective treatment for individuals with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Published in Neurolmage: Clinical, the clinical trail found that neurofeedback was effective in reducing symptoms of PTSD.
“Brain connectivity involves different parts of the brain communicating with each other and helps to regulate states of consciousness, thought, mood and emotion”, explains Dr Ruth Lanius, scientist at Lawson, professor at Western’s Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry and psychiatrist at Londin Health Sciences Centre. “Individuals with PTSD tend to have disrupted patterns of brain connectivity, but our research suggests they can exercise their brain to restore patterns to a healthy balance”.
Neurofeedback uses a system called a neurofeedback loop in which a person’s brain activity is measured through sensors placed on the scalp and displayed back to them using a computer interface. This allows the individual to complete exercises and visually see the results.
The trail tested neurofeedback with a total of 72 participants, including 36 participants with PTSD and 36 healthy control participants. Of those with PTSD, 18 were randomized to participate in neurofeedback treatment while the other 18 acted as a comparison group.
The study found that the severity of PTSD symptoms decreased in participants randomized to receive neurofeedback treatment. After treatment, 61.1 percent of participants no longer met the definition for PTSD.
This remission rate is comparable to gold standard therapies like trauma-focused psychotherapy.