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Linking alpha oscillations, attention and inhibitory control in adult ADHD with EEG neurofeedback

Linking alpha oscillations, attention and inhibitory control in adult ADHD with EEG neurofeedback

Marie-Pierre Deiber, Roland Hasler, Julien Colin, Alexandre Dayer, Jean-Michel Aubry, Stéphanie Baggio, Nader Perroud, Tomas Ros
NeuroImage: Clinical

Abnormal patterns of electrical oscillatory activity have been repeatedly described in adult ADHD. In particular, the alpha rhythm (8–12 Hz), known to be modulated during attention, has previously been considered as candidate biomarker for ADHD. In the present study, we asked adult ADHD patients to self-regulate their own alpha rhythm using neurofeedback (NFB), in order to examine the modulation of alpha oscillations on attentional performance and brain plasticity. Twenty-five adult ADHD patients and 22 healthy controls underwent a 64-channel EEG-recording at resting-state and during a Go/NoGo task, before and after a 30 min-NFB session designed to reduce (desynchronize) the power of the alpha rhythm. Alpha power was compared across conditions and groups, and the effects of NFB were statistically assessed by comparing behavioral and EEG measures pre-to-post NFB. Firstly, we found that relative alpha power was attenuated in our ADHD cohort compared to control subjects at baseline and across experimental conditions, suggesting a signature of cortical hyper-activation. Both groups demonstrated a significant and targeted reduction of alpha power during NFB. Interestingly, we observed a post-NFB increase in resting-state alpha (i.e. rebound) in the ADHD group, which restored alpha power towards levels of the normal population. Importantly, the degree of post-NFB alpha normalization during the Go/NoGo task correlated with individual improvements in motor inhibition (i.e. reduced commission errors) only in the ADHD group. Overall, our findings offer novel supporting evidence implicating alpha oscillations in inhibitory control, as well as their potential role in the homeostatic regulation of cortical excitatory/inhibitory balance.

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