Neurophysiological Activity Patterns in Young People with ASD, ADHD, and ASD+ADHD

Shepard, E., Tye, C., Ashwood, K., Azadr, B., Asherson, P., Bolton, P., & McLoughlin, G. (2018). Resting-state neurophysiological activity patterns in young people with ASD, ADHD, and ASD+ADHD. Journal of Autism Disorders, 48, 110-122.

We, at Integrate Brain Health, treat a range of psychological, psychiatric, and neurological disorders, including, but not limited to: traumatic brain injury, dementia, autism, ADHD, learning disabilities, PTSD, depression, and anxiety. To do so, we take into consideration a range of data from a clinical discussion of symptoms to neuropsychological testing to EEG-derived brain maps, which identify which brain regions may not be communicating with each other well. We also compare the EEG data from the patient with a normed database to discover brain activity that may need to be adjusted. Brain activity can be described in categorized ranges (Delta 1-3 Hz, Theta 4-8 Hz, Alpha 9-14 Hz, and Beta 15-30 Hz). Frequently, irregularities in these frequencies across various brain regions are manifested as clinical symptoms. Through the use of neurofeedback, we help our patients to train their brains to exhibit less of the undesirable activity and more of the desired activity.

One research avenue is to try to associate specific diagnoses with prototypical brain activity irregularities. Shepard and colleagues (2018) recently published work investigating the brain activity of young patients who have been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). They found that children with ASD had reduced theta and alpha power compared to children without ASD. The authors speculated that the reduction in alpha may be related to the social cognition, emotion processing, and language difficulties that are characteristic of ASD. They noted that the theta finding may be related to hyper-arousal that underlies hypersensitivities to sensory stimuli. The authors also found that children with ADHD tended to have decreased delta power. However, they noted that there is inconsistency in the literature, with other authors finding irregularities in alpha.

This kind of research demonstrates that clinical symptoms are related to irregularities in brain activity on the one hand and also that these irregularities vary not only by diagnosis but also vary within a diagnosis on the other hand. We, at Integrate Brain Health, have extensive experience with discovering the root of each patient’s challenges and tailoring neurofeedback protocols to fit their unique constellation of symptoms and brain activity. If you would like to learn more about our proven approach, please contact us at 479-225-3223, we would love to tell you more about it!

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