Meta-Analysis of EEG Biofeedback in Treating Epilepsy

Tan, G., J. Thornby, D. C. Hammond, U. Strehl, B. Canady, K. Arnemann, and D. A. Kaiser. “Meta-Analysis of EEG Biofeedback in Treating Epilepsy.” Clinical EEG and Neuroscience 40.3 (2009): 173-79. Web.

Per the World Health Organization, 0.8% of the population suffers from epilepsy–a condition defined by reoccurring episodes of seizures. Two-thirds of epileptic patients control seizures via various medications that come with dangerous side effects and long-term health risks. For the patients that do not experience relief from medication, neurosurgery is often sought after as an alternative.

Despite these two alleviative options, 1/3 of all epileptic patients will continue to have uncontrolled seizures throughout their lifetime. To try and target a greater span of relief in epileptic patients, researchers have yielded positive results from various experiments to prove the success of neurofeedback in alleviating seizure frequency.

The Tan, et al. meta-analysis used the results from ten different neurofeedback studies to evaluate the success of this training on epileptic patients.

The meta-analysis exposed a fixed effect of neurofeedback training the frequency of seizures. Both types of neurofeedback training (SMR or SCP) were able to significantly decrease the frequencies of seizures. SMR training revealed the greatest effect on the decrease of seizure frequency, as 79% of the subjects showed a significant reduction in the number of seizures.

The studies within the analysis included placebo controls by providing random neurofeedback, blind studies, and an evaluation procedure to control for patient expectation.

As the studies exposed a significant decrease in seizure frequency in epileptic patients, neurofeedback should strongly be considered as an alternative to medications and neurosurgery.