Effect of neurofeedback training on the neural substrates of selective attention in children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder: A functional magnetic resonance imaging study

Johanne Lévesquead, Mario BeauregardabcdCorresponding Author Contact InformationE-mail The Corresponding Author and Boualem Mensoure 

aCentre de Recherche en Neuropsychologie Expérimentale et Cognition (CERNEC), Département de psychologie, Université de Montréal, Canada
bDépartement de radiologie, Université de Montréal, Canada
cCentre de recherche en sciences neurologiques (CRSN), Université de Montréal, Canada
dCentre de Recherche, Institut universitaire de gériatrie de Montréal (CRIUGM), Canada
eCentre hospitalier de l’Université de Montréal (CHUM), Hôpital Notre-Dame, Canada

Received 20 September 2005;  revised 7 October 2005;  accepted 12 October 2005.  Available online 15 December 2005.


Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (AD/HD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder mainly characterized by impairments in cognitive functions. Functional neuroimaging studies carried out in individuals with AD/HD have shown abnormal functioning of the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) during tasks involving selective attention. In other respects, there is mounting evidence that neurofeedback training (NFT) can significantly improve cognitive functioning in AD/HD children. In this context, the present functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) study was conducted to measure the effect of NFT on the neural substrates of selective attention in children with AD/HD. Twenty AD/HD children—not taking any psychostimulant and without co-morbidity-participated to the study. Fifteen children were randomly assigned to the Experimental (EXP) group (NFT), whereas the other five children were assigned to the Control (CON) group (no NFT). Subjects from both groups were scanned 1 week before the beginning of the NFT (Time 1) and 1 week after the end of this training (Time 2), while they performed a Counting Stroop task. At Time 1, for both groups, the Counting Stroop task was associated with significant loci of activation in the left superior parietal lobule. No activation was noted in the ACC. At Time 2, for both groups, the Counting Stroop task was still associated with significant activation of the left superior parietal lobule. This time, however, for the EXP group only there was a significant activation of the right ACC. These results suggest that in AD/HD children, NFT has the capacity to normalize the functioning of the ACC, the key neural substrate of selective attention.

Keywords: Attention; AD/HD children; Neurofeedback; fMRI; Anterior cingulate cortex

Neuroscience Letters 
Volume 394, Issue 3 , 20 February 2006, Pages 216-221