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Re: Neurofeedback

Re: Neurofeedback2010-09-12T02:38:56+00:00

Post count: 14413

Neurofeedback: as a researcher, I am torn between evidence-based and the genuine belief of the people who do this. With so many centers for neurofeedback, one can’t imagine that they are all con artists. They must be seeing something working. But there are three fundamental questions- a) is there really an effect that leads to a change in impairment, b) is it sustainable and c) how does it compare to the current standard of treatment. Let’s be clear, it is not cheap. A recent meta-analysis was done in the Journal of Neurotherapy by Lubar and his group (he is the one who started Neurofeedback and the Journal is about neurofeedback) which showed that it met Level 5 of evidence-based outcome (5 is the highest level).

As in most cases where non-traditional approaches are done, the argument has been that it is too expensive to do the kind of research that truly puts it to rest. That is a stupid argument as their are plenty of places where non-traditional studies are accepted like the Hospital for Sick Children or NIMH in the US. Ultimately, without replicated research in peer reviewed journals, it still gets relegated to fringe status despite it’s attempts to create some validity.

Here is another stupid argument: that the drug companies control the nature of what is real science. That is just a slap in the face of every researcher out there.

At the end of the day, if you believe in something, why wouldn’t you go out of your way to show it in a scientific study. The real problem is this: what if you do the study and it shows that it has no benefit. Why risk the obvious? But…if you truly believe that it works, then a randomized placebo controlled study is the only way to validate your claim and put the naysayers to rest!

The only think I know for certain: it doesn’t appear to hurt you (except your pocket book and your time investment). Does it help? I am sure you can line up a hundred people who will say it does. That proves nothing. People are gullible. In most studies, the placebo effect is as high as 40% of the outcome.

I think it is frustrating all around. I personally think it falls on Lubar’s shoulders. He is the “father of Neurofeedback” and you would think he now has the credibility to get the funding to do a comprehensive study. Heck, given the opportunity, I’ll do the study.