248524 A Randomized Trial of Computer Attention Training in Children with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder

Tuesday, November 1, 2011: 11:00 AM

Naomi Steiner, MD , Center for Children with Special Needs, Tufts Medical Center, Boston, MA
Elizabeth Frenette, MPH , Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics, Tufts Medical Center, Boston, MA
Ellen Perrin, MD , Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics, Tufts Medical Center, Boston, MA
Tahnee Sidhu, BA , Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics, Tufts Medical Center, Boston, MA
We report preliminary results from a study in 17 schools examining the efficacy of two computer-based attention training systems in teaching children with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) to concentrate more effectively. We compared a neurofeedback (NFB) computer attention training system that teaches children to alter their brainwave activity with a Standard Computer Format attention training system (SCF). We hypothesize that both treatments will show improvement in ADHD symptoms and academic outcomes compared to a control condition. Methods: 45 children with ADHD in grades 2 and 4 were randomly assigned to receive the NFB, SCF, or a Waitlist-Control condition (WLC) that receives NFB or SCF the following academic year. Children received forty 45-minute sessions three times a week at school for 4 months. As part of a comprehensive assessment, we report data on the T-SKAMP completed by teachers that assesses symptoms of ADHD in the classroom, the PERMP, a math test completed by students that analyzes speed and accuracy, and the BOSS, double-blind classroom observations. Results: Preliminary analyses showed improvement of the NFB group on the PERMP math test (p=0.03) and a decrease in ADHD symptoms as reported by teachers on the T-SKAMP (p=0.01). The SCF group showed improvement on the PERMP (p=0.01) and a trend towards decreased ADHD symptoms on the T-SKAMP. The BOSS showed a trend towards ADHD symptom reduction in the classroom setting for intervention groups. The WLC showed no significant effects on the SKAMP, PERMP, or BOSS. Conclusion: These data suggest that computer-based attention training offered in elementary school settings may be effective in reducing ADHD symptoms.

Learning Areas:
Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
1. Explain how neurofeedback computer attention-training may help children with ADHD. 2. Describe what occurs in a typical Computer Attention-Training session. 3. List pre-assessment and post-assessment protocol. 4. Explain the challenges of completing this protocol within the school setting.

Keywords: Alternative Medicine/Therapies, Children With Special Needs

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
Organization/institution whose products or services will be discussed: We are assessing the efficacy of the computer attention training programs BrainTrain and Play Attention.

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have an MPH from Tufts Medical School and have been working on the current research project for 1.5 years.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.