The efficacy of neurofeedback among patients with major depressive disorder: preliminary study

San-Yu Wang, I-Mei Lin, Erik Peper, Yu-Ting Chen, Tze-Chun Tang, Yi-Chun Yeh, Yu-Che Tsai, Che-Cheng Chu


Introduction: Alpha asymmetry of the left and right frontal hemisphere is a potential biomarker for major depressive disorder (MDD). Neurofeedback (NFB) is a clinical intervention program for regulating brain activity and decreasing alpha asymmetry. The purpose of this study was to explore the efficacy of NFB among patients with MDD. Methods: Fourteen patients with MDD were randomly assigned to a NFB group that received neurofeedback training 1 hr weekly for 6 weeks and to a control group that was treated without training. A 5-min resting baseline of electroencephalogram (EEG) was recorded at F3 (left) and F4 (right) before and after NFB, and the alpha power was analyzed as an asymmetry index (A1). Results: The A1 of the control group decreased from pre- to post-interventions while the A1 of the NFB group increased from pre- to post-interventions. Anxiety and depression scores of the responder group decreased from pre- to post-interventions, while the scores of the non-responder group increased from pre-to post-interventions. Conclusion: Patients who respond to the NFBtraining showed a decrease in anxiety and depression scores compared to those who do not. This study indicated that NFB could improve left frontal hypoarousal or right frontal hyperarousal among patients with MDD.


major depressive disorder, neurofeedback, electroencephalogram, alpha asymmetry

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