The Efficacy of EEG Biofeedback for Tourette Syndrome

Grant Type: Clinical

Grant Year: 2001-2002

Institution Location: NY

Instituation Organization Name: North Shore University Hospital

Investigators Name: Strohmayer, Alan, PhD

What do Astronauts have in common with children with Tourette Syndrome? Both can use “Brainwave” powered computer games to improve their functioning. For years NASA has used a form of biofeedback training, EEG Biofeedback or Neurofeedback to improve ability to focus and pay attention in the busy cockpit environment. Our study will use similar technology to determine whether EEG biofeedback has a significant effect in the treatment of the symptoms of Tourette Syndrome. EEG Biofeedback is like a brain exercise which works out” the brain and helps it grow and develop. It is similar to other forms of biofeedback. A biological signal (in this case a portion of brainwaves or EEG) is recorded and transformed into a video game. The subject then learns to manipulate the signal through trial and error. Biofeedback has been used successfully to treat headache, hypertension, irritable bowel, and other disorders. EEG biofeedback has been effective in controlling seizures and shows promise in attention deficit disorders (ADHD). This technology is not new. Significant published work dating from the 1970’s demonstrated that EEG biofeedback was effective in treating intractable seizures. Recently, there has been a resurgence in the use of EEG biofeedback as a treatment for many disorders such as attention deficit syndromes (ADHD) and Tourette Syndrome (TS). EEG biofeedback is gaining popularity. Some families seek a non-drug therapy for Tourette Syndrome symptoms because medications have proved not helpful. Not always effective some people experience significant side effects. Also, there may be concern about long term effects on the growth and development of children. Twenty subjects will be recruited from the existing patient population of the Movement Disorders Program, Department of Neurology and Psychiatry, North Shore University Hospital and the local areas. Subjects will be from 7 to 11 years of age. We expect to be able to measure any change in the tic symptoms as a result of the EEG intervention. Hopefully, the results of this study will reveal the benefit of EEG biofeedback for the treatment of Tourette Syndrome. Alan J. Strohmayer, Ph.D. North Shore University Hospital, Manhasset, NY Award: $75,000 Tourette Association of America Inc. – Research Grant Award 2001-2002