New Research Shows Neurofeedback is as Effective as Medication in Treating PTSD

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BrainTrain announces publication of a study finding that neurofeedback improved well being and attention in veterans with PTSD.

A newly published study found that the success rate of neurofeedback treatment for veterans with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) matched that of anti-depressant medication. Usually the first line of treatment for this disorder, anti-depressant medication typically results in benefits as high as 60% (Berger et al., 2009*). Using BrainTrain’s SmartMind 3 neurofeedback system, the treatment employed in this study led to significant improvements in auditory and visual attention which the researchers believed resulted in enhanced social interaction and greater feelings of well-being. The study was conducted at California State University, San Bernardino, and was recently published in NeuroRegulation (McReynolds, et al., 2017**).

PTSD is characterized by constant reliving of the traumatic event, problems with social interactions, a state of hyperarousal and exaggerated startle response, and other forms of distress. Prior to treatment, 15 of the 20 participants in this study reported severe to moderate levels of distress - frequent and elevated negative states of anxiety and depression and very limited positive feelings of general well-being, health, and vitality. After completing 40 half-hour sessions of neurofeedback, 9 of the 15 individuals (60%) who were initially very distressed clinically improved in their emotional state and 7 of these 9 (78%) rated themselves as having a positive state of well-being.

The clinical interventions used in this study were provided by Dr. Connie McReynolds, Director of the CSUSB neurofeedback clinics, and her staff. An individualized, 40-session neurofeedback training plan using the SmartMind 3 system was developed for each participant and clinically modified as necessary to optimize performance. Therapeutic goals focused on improving attention and reducing mental stress related to depression and anxiety. SmartMind 3 measures brainwave activity with greater accuracy than other neurofeedback systems by continuously filtering out signal artifacts such as facial tension, eye blinks and eye movements during training.

The researchers used standardized testing before and after training to measure distress, anxiety and depression, as well as visual and auditory attention. Prior to training, in addition to suffering from elevated states of anxiety and depression, participants were also found to have mild to moderate impairments in auditory and visual attention, as measured by the IVA-2 Visual and Auditory Continuous Performance Test. After completing the neurofeedback treatment, testing showed that they had improved significantly in both auditory and visual attention with most subjects now scoring in the normal range. A significant positive relationship was found between the improvements in auditory attention and processing speed and greater feelings of well-being. This relationship suggested to the researchers that becoming a more attentive listener and communicator resulted in enhanced social interaction, leading to a more positive emotional state. Future researchers may wish to explore whether combining medication with neurofeedback in the treatment of PTSD would have a more powerful result than either method used alone.

About BrainTrain
Founded in 1989 by Joseph Sandford, Ph.D., a neuropsychologist, BrainTrain, Inc., is known worldwide for its award-winning cognitive testing, reading and brain-training software for all ages.

For more information about SmartMind 3, visit braintrain.com/nf. Direct press inquiries to Virginia Sandford, 804-320-0105 ext. 101, [email protected]

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Virginia Sandford
BrainTrain Inc
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