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Since the late 1960s neurofeedback (NFT) has been used to treat adult individuals with anxiety disorders. Yet most related, evidence-based research studies were conducted between the mid-1970s and late 1990s. Therefore, NFT as an efficacious treatment for anxiety problems remains unclear. The literature research discloses that of few studies, most used sample sizes 10 subjects or less per experimental or control group, results have been mixed, and the U.S. NIH’s National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) at this time does not endorse NFT as an efficacious treatment for anxiety problems.
In the present study 27 women between (age range=19-67) with moderate to high trait anxiety were randomly assigned to either experimental or control condition, and received either ten sessions of A/T NFT to up-regulate Theta (5-7 Hz) and Alpha power (8-11 Hz) or received ten 25-minute sessions of alternately up- and down-regulating beta (15-19 Hz) and hibeta (20-24 Hz), respectively, at the Pz location, while getting auditory and visual feedback. Activation/Deactivation was assessed before and after each session via the Activation Deactivation Adjective Checklist (AD-ACL) list. Pre-and post EEGs, anxiety (BAI, STAI, GAD-7), treatment expectancy, locus of control and a variety of qualitative measures such as cognitive strategies, treatment group belief, and best times and worst times of day for learning were assessed.
Preliminary results using growth curve modeling (GCM using lmer), as well as traditional 2x2 and 2X3 ANOVAs and regression statistical analyses, indicate that both, participants of experimental (EG) and control groups (CG) were able to successfully up-regulate their theta and alpha power, as well as the T/A ratio during the course of a session as well as over the course of the 10 treatment sessions. Self-perceived anxiety as measured by the two of the three anxiety measures went down significantly. No significant difference between EG and CG could be observed.