Impact of sensorimotor rhythm neurofeedback on quality of life in patients with medically-refractory seizures

  • Lauren Frey University of Colorado
Keywords: Seizure, epilepsy, sensorimotor rhythm, neurofeedback, quality of life


Introduction: Published studies suggest that augmentation of the sensorimotor rhythm (SMR), a commonly used neurofeedback protocol for patients with epilepsy, changes thalamocortical regulatory systems and increases cortical excitation thresholds. Recent meta-analyses showed that at least 50% of patients with medically refractory epilepsy had a post-therapy reduction in seizure frequency after neurofeedback training. However, data on neurofeedback outcomes outside of seizure frequency are limited. Methods: The records for all consecutive patients trained using SMR neurofeedback in the University of Colorado Neurofeedback Clinic prior to March 2015 (n = 9) were retrospectively reviewed, abstracted, and analyzed. Patients completed the
Quality of Life in Epilepsy-31 (QOLIE-31) survey as a part of their clinic intake interview and at intervals throughout their training. Results: 214 total training sessions were reviewed. The average total QOLIE-31 baseline score in our patients was 49.3 ± 8.8. Seven patients completed follow-up QOLIE-31 surveys with an average score of 54.9 ± 6.5. Seventy-eight percent of the patients had improvement in their QOLIE-31 scores with training. The largest absolute improvements were in the seizure worry and cognitive subscores of the QOLIE-31. Conclusion: In this small case series, SMR neurofeedback training modestly improved short-term follow-up QOLIE-31 scores in patients with epilepsy.

Author Biography

Lauren Frey, University of Colorado

Department of Neurology

Associate Professor


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