Preprint Article Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

Effects of Neurofeedback in the Working Memory of Children with Learning Disorders: An EEG Power-Spectrum Analysis

Version 1 : Received: 20 May 2021 / Approved: 21 May 2021 / Online: 21 May 2021 (09:53:46 CEST)

How to cite: Martínez-Briones, B.J.; Bosch-Bayard, J.; Biscay-Lirio, R.J.; Albarrán-Cárdenas, L.; Silva-Pereyra, J.; Fernández, T. Effects of Neurofeedback in the Working Memory of Children with Learning Disorders: An EEG Power-Spectrum Analysis. Preprints 2021, 2021050517 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202105.0517.v1). Martínez-Briones, B.J.; Bosch-Bayard, J.; Biscay-Lirio, R.J.; Albarrán-Cárdenas, L.; Silva-Pereyra, J.; Fernández, T. Effects of Neurofeedback in the Working Memory of Children with Learning Disorders: An EEG Power-Spectrum Analysis. Preprints 2021, 2021050517 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202105.0517.v1).

Abstract

Learning disorders (LD) are diagnosed in children impaired in the academic skills of reading, writing and/or mathematics. Children with LD usually show a slower resting-state electroencephalogram (EEG), with EEG patterns corresponding to a neurodevelopmental lag. LD-children also show a consistent cognitive impairment in working memory (WM), including an abnormal task-related EEG with an overall slower EEG activity of more delta and theta power, and less gamma activity in posterior sites; task-related EEG patterns considered indices of an inefficient neural resource management. Neurofeedback (NFB) treatments aimed at normalizing the resting-state EEG of LD-children have shown improvements in cognitive-behavioral indices and diminished EEG abnormalities. Given the typical findings of a WM impairment in LD-children; we aimed to explore the effects of a NFB treatment in the WM of children with LD, by analyzing the WM-related EEG power-spectrum. We recruited 18 children with LD (8-10 years old). They performed a Sternberg-type WM-task synchronized with an EEG of 19 leads (10-20 system) twice in pre-post treatment conditions. They went through either 30 sessions of a NFB treatment (NFB-group, n= 10); or through 30 sessions of a placebo-sham treatment (Sham-group, n= 8). We analyzed the before-after treatment group differences for the behavioral performance and the WM-related power-spectrum. The NFB group showed faster response times in the WM-task post-treatment. They also showed an increased gamma power at posterior sites and a decreased beta power. We explain these findings in terms of NFB improving the maintenance of memory representations coupled with a reduction of anxiety.

Subject Areas

Neurofeedback; Learning Disorders; Working Memory; School-age Children; EEG Power Spectrum; Source Localization

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