New research: Kids with Autism, Sensory Processing Disorders Show Brain Wiring Differences

New research: Kids with Autism, Sensory Processing Disorders Show Brain Wiring Differences

Researchers at UC San Francisco have found that children with sensory processing disorders have decreased structural brain connections in specific sensory regions different than those in autism, further establishing SPD as a clinically important neurodevelopmental disorder.

For the full story, click here

Z-Score neurofeedback can help improve connectivity in brain function.

Omega-3 levels may help ADHD symptoms

As reported in 2013 research, Omega-3 supplements may improve ADHD symptoms.

Increased omega-3 levels may boost behavior, attention, and literacy in ADHD children: Study

By Stephen DANIELLS, 19-Nov-2013

Increasing the levels of DHA and EPA omega-3s in red blood cells by dietary supplementation may improve attention, literacy, and behavior in children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), says a new study from Australia.


Personalized approach enhances communication skills in children with autism

As reported in Science Daily:  Personalized approach enhances communication skills in children with autism.

Summary:  The communication skills of minimally verbal children with autism can be greatly improved through personalized interventions that are combined with the use of computer tablets, researchers report. The three-year study examined different approaches to improving communication abilities among children with autism spectrum disorder and minimal verbal skills. Approximately 30 percent of children with ASD overall remain minimally verbal even after years of intervention.
The full research source is:
Connie Kasari, Ann Kaiser, Kelly Goods, Jennifer Nietfeld, Pamela Mathy, Rebecca Landa, Susan Murphy, Daniel Almirall. Communication Interventions for Minimally Verbal Children With Autism: A Sequential Multiple Assignment Randomized Trial. Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 2014; 53 (6): 635 DOI: 10.1016/j.jaac.2014.01.019


This study tested the effect of beginning treatment with a speech-generating device (SGD) in the context of a blended, adaptive treatment design for improving spontaneous, communicative utterances in school-aged, minimally verbal children with autism.


A total of 61 minimally verbal children with autism, aged 5 to 8 years, were randomized to a blended developmental/behavioral intervention (JASP+EMT) with or without the augmentation of a SGD for 6 months with a 3-month follow-up. The intervention consisted of 2 stages. In stage 1, all children received 2 sessions per week for 3 months. Stage 2 intervention was adapted (by increased sessions or adding the SGD) based on the child’s early response. The primary outcome was the total number of spontaneous communicative utterances; secondary measures were the total number of novel words and total comments from a natural language sample.


Primary aim results found improvements in spontaneous communicative utterances, novel words, and comments that all favored the blended behavioral intervention that began by including an SGD (JASP+EMT+SGD) as opposed to spoken words alone (JASP+EMT). Secondary aim results suggest that the adaptive intervention beginning with JASP+EMT+SGD and intensifying JASP+EMT+SGD for children who were slow responders led to better posttreatment outcomes.


Minimally verbal school-aged children can make significant and rapid gains in spoken spontaneous language with a novel, blended intervention that focuses on joint engagement and play skills and incorporates an SGD. Future studies should further explore the tailoring design used in this study to better understand children’s response to treatment.

Diagnosing ADHD in the Very Young

As reported on Medscape, a new study evaluates diagnosing ADHD in young children.  Fortunately, with QEEGs (brainmaps) as part of the case evaluation process, at Applied Neurotherapy Center, it’s much less important to identify what label to use, and easier learn what can be done to resolve the symptoms with neurofeedback.  Click here to find out more about neurofeedback at ANC.

Research: ADHD Meds May Double Cardiovascular Event Risk in Kids

New research reports ADHD meds may double cardiovascular event risk in kids.  As reported by Medscape Medical News ( a recent study found:

“The use of psychostimulants in children and adolescents is associated with nearly twice the risk for a cardiovascular event compared with nonuse of the drugs, and the risk is even higher when the drugs are used for the treatment of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), new research suggests. However, some experts are questioning whether these findings are clinically meaningful.”

The full open access article can be found here:  Cardiovasular Safety Stimulants in ADHD_Dalsgaard

The abstract of the article:

Objective: The purpose of this study was to determine whether stimulant users are at higher risk of a later cardiovascular event than are non-users, examining this association in both a national cohort and a population-based sample of children and adolescents diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). We also aim to examine a possible dose-response relationship in such an association.

Methods: We conducted a longitudinal, prospective cohort study of all children born in Denmark between 1990 and 1999. Within this cohort, children with ADHD were identified. Data from national health registers on psychiatric and somatic diagnoses, stimulant prescriptions, cardiovascular risk factors, pre- and perinatal and sociodemographic covariates in all children and their parents were merged, using the unique personal identification number. Hazard ratios (HR) for cardiovascular events were estimated using Cox regression, adjusted for other known risk factors.

Results: In the total population (n=714,258 contributing a total of 6,767,982 person-years) use of stimulants increased the risk of a cardiovascular event; adjusted HR=1.83 (1.10–3.04). In children with ADHD (n=8300) stimulant treatment also increased the risk of a cardiovascular event (adjusted HR=2.20 [2.15–2.24]), with a complex time-dependent dose-response relationship.

Conclusions: This is the first nationwide cohort study of the cardiovascular safety of stimulants in children and adolescents, and it represents, to our knowledge, the longest prospective follow-up study. Cardiovascular events were rare but twice as likely in stimulant users as in non-users, both in the total national population and in children with ADHD. We found a complex, time- and dose-dependent interrelationship between cardiovascular adverse events and stimulant treatment in children and adolescents. Our results suggest a safety signal with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease associated with stimulant treatment in children and adolescents, even after adjusting for a number of potential confounders.

Research: Lack of sleep ages the brain

Research indicates lack of sleep ages the brain.  Science Daily reports:  Researchers at Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School Singapore (Duke-NUS) have found evidence that the less older adults sleep, the faster their brains age. These findings, relevant in the context of Singapore’s rapidly ageing society, pave the way for future work on sleep loss and its contribution to cognitive decline, including dementia.

The abstract of the full research article (from

Study Objectives:

To investigate the contribution of sleep duration and quality to age-related changes in brain structure and cognitive performance in relatively healthy older adults.


Community-based longitudinal brain and cognitive aging study using a convenience sample.


Participants were studied in a research laboratory.


Relatively healthy adults aged 55 y and older at study commencement.

Measurements and Results:

Participants underwent magnetic resonance imaging and neuropsychological assessment every 2 y. Subjective assessments of sleep duration and quality and blood samples were obtained. Each hour of reduced sleep duration at baseline augmented the annual expansion rate of the ventricles by 0.59% (P = 0.007) and the annual decline rate in global cognitive performance by 0.67% (P = 0.050) in the subsequent 2 y after controlling for the effects of age, sex, education, and body mass index. In contrast, global sleep quality at baseline did not modulate either brain or cognitive aging. High-sensitivity C-reactive protein, a marker of systemic inflammation, showed no correlation with baseline sleep duration, brain structure, or cognitive performance.


In healthy older adults, short sleep duration is associated with greater age-related brain atrophy and cognitive decline. These associations are not associated with elevated inflammatory responses among short sleepers.


Lo JC, Loh KK, Zheng H, Sim SK, Chee MW. Sleep duration and age-related changes in brain structure and cognitive performance. SLEEP 2014;37(7):1171-1178.

Resesarch supports neurofeedback as an implicit learning process.

In a recent open access article, published in the Frontiers In Human Neuroscience, it is suggested that no particular strategy and/or explicit instructions for generating reward tones, during the neurofeedback session, results in better neurofeedback learning.  This supports neurofeedback as being an implicit, or subconscious, learning process.  For the full article, click here: NF_NoStrategyBetter for NF success_Kober

Learning to modulate one’s own brain activity: the effect of spontaneous mental strategies

Silvia E. Kober, Matthias Witte, Manuel Ninaus, Christa Neuper, and Guilherme Wood


Research Institute Brainclinics: Doubling of Neurofeedback Efficacy in ADHD Treatment

First study investigating personalized treatment in ADHD

NIJMEGEN, The Netherlands, Mar 28, 2012 (BUSINESS WIRE) — A personalized treatment approach, tailoring Neurofeedback treatment to the individual ADHD patient, almost doubled the effectiveness for attentional and hyperactivity/impulsivity problems. These results have just been published in the scientific journal ‘Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback’. This study is the first scientific study investigating whether personalizing Neurofeedback treatment, based on a so-called quantitative EEG or QEEG, results in a higher effectiveness of this treatment in ADHD.

Several scientific studies have already demonstrated that neurofeedback treatment has beneficial and lasting effects in the treatment of ADHD (Arns et al, 2009). A new development in psychiatry is that of ‘tailor-made treatments’ sometimes referred to as ‘personalized medicine’. This development is becoming more and more popular due to the fact that most ‘conventional’ treatments in psychiatry have demonstrated limited efficacy. The development of personalized medicine therefore focuses more on providing the right treatment for the right person in order to achieve a more effective treatment outcome. In a study conducted by Research Institute Brainclinics, neurofeedback protocols were tailored to the individual patient. On the basis of patients’ individual brain activity measured by quantitative EEG — also called a QEEG – it was determined which well-investigated neurofeedback protocol was applied to a specific patient. Sixty-seven percent of patients responded well to this treatment (more than 50% reduction in symptoms). The reported “effect-size” of 1.8 (a measure of the magnitude and clinical relevance of the treatment effect) in this study was found to be almost double the effect-size as compared to previously reported studies. These results were published today in the international scientific journal Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback (Arns et al, 2012).


Arns, M., Drinkenburg, W. H. I. M., & Kenemans, J. L. (2012). The effects of QEEG-informed neurofeedback in ADHD: An open label pilot study. Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback. doi:10.1007/s10484-012-9191-4

This article is also available at:

How I was a mom of an ADHD child before I became a Neurofeedback clinician…..and how I got into this line of work

When my son, was 11 yrs old, I had been remarried for a few years and my husband and I were preparing to start a college fund for him.  A few years earlier my son had been diagnosed with ADHD and was taking medications which were only moderately successful.  At this same time I was struggling with my son’s father’s lack of willingness to give ADHD medications during visitations and was being pushed for “alternative treatments”.  At the time I was a Professional Counselor doing home-based therapy for Devereux, and while attending  one of my regular continuing education seminars (on anger management of all things)  the speaker talked about this new “treatment” being used at the Menninger Clinic called “Neurofeedback” and how they were having good success using this treatment with ADHD.  Well, I went straight home, got on the internet, and started researching this new thing called Neurofeedback.  After extensively searching and reading, I found a practitioner to take may son to.  But there was one thing in the way:  the cost.  The ensuing conversation with my husband was pretty simple as we both quickly reasoned, regarding the proposed college fund, that if we didn’t go forward with the Neurofeedback treatment to resolve my son’s ADHD, then we weren’t going to have use for a college fund.  And so we made the decision to use what would have been the start of the college fund to fund the Neurofeedback.

While I may have been a Professional Counselor, Neurofeedback was still new to me; but I was eager to learn all I could – and learn I did. The clinician I took my son to used a model where the clinician does not stay in the room with the client at all times; and so I opted to stay with my son during sessions and figure out how best to keep him focused during the sessions to get the most from the experience.  Since this was traditional Neurofeedback, we had been prepared for the need for at least 40 sessions to gain success and sufficient symptom resolution, and that we might not see the start of improvement in symptoms until around 20 sessions.  Well, session 20 came and went, then session 21, and we really had not seen much of anything with a change in symptoms.  To be honest, I was beginning to wonder if we had wasted a lot of money and time; and I remember thinking, “Oh my, what have we done?”  But at exactly session number 23, suddenly it all started to click – we started seeing evidence of the treatment starting to work!   Then soon after we started reducing his medications, and before long my son was medication free.  We continued on to the 40 session point, and then opted for some additional training via a home-training platform.

At this point, I was next in line for consideration for Neurofeedback.  A long-standing post-partum and seasonal affective depression had not responded well to medication; and so it made since to consider Neurofeedback for myself as well.  However, since I was already a licensed clinician, I had the necessary foundation credentials to enter this field; and so I reasoned I could get the necessary training and equipment for the same cost as paying for my own treatment – and I might end up with an addition to my private practice.  Within a few months, I too was medication free; and after 12 years I’ve never looked back.  During the process of becoming a Board Certified Neurofeedback therapist, a requirement was to be a client for a specified number of sessions; and so I also have a personal understanding of what it means to be a Neurofeedback client.

Oh, and if you’re wondering what ever happened to that college fund?  As it turns out we didn’t need it after all, but for a good reason; when he’s ready, college will be paid for by the new GI Bill.  My son decided during high school that he wanted to serve in the military and after graduation enlisted in the US Navy.  And so today, thanks to Neurofeedback, I am very proud Navy-mom.  Why do I say “thanks to Neurofeedback”?  That will have to be the topic for another blog post…….

But in summary, the main point of this post is to share how I have been where all of my clients start and how I am a “mom” as much as I am a Neurofeedback clinician.  I know what it’s like to be the client and/or the mother of a child client.  My early experience is something I will never forget and in turn underlies all that I do for my clients.  It drives my unyielding commitment to personal, caring, and honest treatment, to provide the highest quality service in the fewest amount of sessions, and my promise of financial value.  In short, I have a unique perspective to walk with you through this process, because I’ve been there too.

Benefits of Neurofeedback: No need to worry about ADHD Medication Shortages

Recently there have been many news stories in the media about a growing issue with a shortage of ADHD medication availability.  One recent blog post on a CHADD related site discusses the causes of this issue of ADHD medication shortages.  According to the author, Ruth Hughes, PhD, “the shortages began last spring and all parties thought it would be a short-term problem. But now it is six months later and the problem is getting bigger, not smaller.”  She goes on to explain, “If the shortage continues for a while, as it has for ADHD medications, then other things begin to happen. Over time, physicians begin to change prescribing habits to other medications that are more readily available, such as the short-acting methylphenidate medications.”  However, one significant problem with this, as I see it, is that not all medications work the same for all ADD/ADHD patients.  One size does NOT fit all.  Unfortunately it can take going thru several different types/combinations of medications to find the “goldie locks” just right “fit” for ADHD medications.  And so if you or your child’s “just right” medication is in short supply, simply switching to something else that a doctor or pharmacist believes is “just as good” might not be.

But there is an alternative to medications for ADD/ADHD.  In a fairly recent research article where close to 1200 research cases were reviewed (i.e. a Meta Analysis) Neurofeedback for ADD/ADHD was found to have the highest level of effectiveness (Level 5) as measured by the American Psychological Association. (Click here to read article).  One of the biggest benefits of Neurofeedback, when it is appropriately used in place of medications, is that you don’t have to worry about medication shortages.  Visit our FAQ page for more information about Neurofeedback and our “We’re Different” page to find out what sets Applied Neurotherapy Center apart from other providers in the area