Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) are attentional disorders which primarily involve slowed frontal brain activity and hypo-perfusion of cerebral blood flow in the frontal regions, particularly during reading.
Audio-visual entrainment (AVE) lends itself well for the treatment of ADD/ADHD. AVE exerts itself a major, widespread influence over the cortex in terms of dominant frequency and has been shown to produce dramatic increases in blood flow.
Individuals suffering from ADD/ADHD typically have an abundance of abnormally high alpha and/or theta waves with suppressed sensory-motor rhythm (SMR) waves. This manifests as inattention, impulsiveness, emotional instability and hyperactivity and interferes with the ability to perform cognitive tasks, such as reading.
AVE works because it boosts the SMR activity (thus reducing hyperactivity) and suppresses alpha and theta activity, thus improving attention, reasoning and emotional instability. QEEG anaylsis of before and after an AVE session have shown normalized EEG. One subgroup of ADD exhibits higher then average alpha, which is more prominent on the right side. This producing of alpha waves during reading is called inversion, and the individual experiences a mental "fog," making it difficult to absorb the reading material. Following just one session on a DAVID machine, alpha activity normalizes and reading speed and comprehension improve.
The studies regarding AVE as a treatment modality for ADD/ADHD have yielded excellent results. One study was done in 1993 by Carter and Russell on 26 boys aged eight to twelve years old. In this study, fourteen children (from a private school) received two minutes of 10 Hz stimulation, 1 minute of no stimulation, and 2 minutes of 18 Hz for 5 cycles over a 25-minute period. The students received AVE once a day, five days per week for eight weeks, totalling 40 sessions. They also listened to a tape of pulsed tones (recorded from the AVE sessions) for 40 sessions at home. The public school children (n=12) received three treatments per week for six weeks totalling 18 treatments. All children could see out of their eyesets, and were encouraged to play checkers and hand-held electronic games during the treatment.
The results of the first group were considerably better. They received 22 more AVE treatments than the public school children. Unfortunately this large difference in AVE treatment had confounded the study, making it unclear as to whether or not the beats on cassette tape had any influence. This group showed significant improvements in the "Raven IQ" test, memory, reading and spelling.
In 1997, Michael Joyce began using a unique dual frequency AVE session using the TruVuTM eyesets (independent field stimulation used with the DAVID Paradise units) to treat ADD and reading-challenged students in two Minnesota primary schools (Joyce & Siever, 2000). He measured the children for changes in inattention, impulsiveness, reaction time, and variability as measured with the TOVA (Greenberg & Waldman, 1993), a computerized continuous performance test (CPT). Improvements were seen after an average of 33 sessions (over a ten-week treatment period). These results clearly show improvements in all TOVA measures, including inattention, consistency and impulsivity. Joyce also evaluated reading ability in students from the SPALDING reading program school. The children were tested on the STAR (Standardized Test for the Assessment of Reading).This measure shows that the control group performance decreased slightly while the AVE group improved considerably.
An unpublished study done by Lawrence Micheletti compared four groups of children with ADHD. There was a control group, a stimulant (Adderall/Ritalin) group, an AVE group, and a group combing stimulants and AVE. Pre scores were taken, as well as post scores immediately following treatment, and post-post scores, after four weeks. The children received 20-minute sessions, five days a week for four weeks, for a total of 40 sessions. For raven IQ and spelling, the AVE alone group reported the greatest results; for reading and math, a combination of AVE and stimulants produced the best results.
A large-scale study of 200 children employed the use of AVE in a school setting to address inattention, impulsiveness and behavioural challenges on school-age children. Students selected had a history or learning and reading challenges, impulsiveness, and a propensity to be distracted and to distract others. Parents and teachers completed a behaviour reading scale, while the students completed a standardized reading inventory. Students participated in two to three AVE sessions per week, averaging 30 sessions in three months.
Behavioral and personality ratings were compiled using the BDS, and oral reading proficiency was assessed with the Slosson-R reading test. Students showed significant reductions in anxiousness, depression, hyperactivity and inattention. On average, students gained eight months in grade-equivalent reading scores.
Several studies show that AVE is a useful tool for treating attentional disorders. The frequencies used in its operation are similar to those frequencies used with common NF techniques. As added bonuses, the ability to have pre-programmed sessions makes AVE easy to use by people not skilled in NF, such as teachers and parents. A single clinician may also treat several children at one time, thus drastically cutting costs. The results include many behavioral improvements in addition to the primary attentional concerns.
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Carter, J. & Russell, H. (1993). A pilot investigation of auditory and visual entrainment of brain wave activity in learning disabled boys. Texas Researcher. Vol 4, 65-72.
Joyce, M. & Siever, D. (2000). Audio-visual entrainment program as a treatment for behavior disorders in a school setting. Journal of Neurotherapy. 4, (2) 9-15.