Biofeedback as complementary treatment in patients with epilepsy – an underestimated therapeutic option? Review, results, discussion

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Journal of Epileptology

Foundation of Epileptology

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VOLUME 24 , ISSUE 2 (December 2016) > List of articles

Biofeedback as complementary treatment in patients with epilepsy – an underestimated therapeutic option? Review, results, discussion

Carmen Uhlmann * / Walter Fröscher

Keywords : biofeedback, neurofeedback, epilepsy, self-control

Citation Information : Journal of Epileptology. Volume 24, Issue 2, Pages 173-180, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/joepi-2016-0013

License : (CC BY 4.0)

Received Date : 14-November-2016 / Accepted: 28-November-2016 / Published Online: 17-December-2016

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ABSTRACT

Background. Biofeedback methods represent side effect free complementary options in the treatment of epilepsy. In this paper we review the current status of these methods in terms of clinical study results and their evaluation by systematic review papers. Possible mechanisms of action in biofeedback methods are discussed.

Aim. To present the current status of biofeedback methods applied to patients with epilepsy.

Material and Methods. With a literature search up to 10/2016 we screened publications containing the search terms "biofeedback", "neurofeedback" or "neurotherapy" and "epilepsy" or "seizure" for intervention and population search terms respectively.

Results. Four different techniques of biofeedback were used to improve seizure frequency in patients with epilepsy. Three of these techniques, measuring EEG (slow cortical potentials and sensory motor rhythm) or electrodermal activity (galvanic skin response, GSR) seem to be promising methods for successful seizure control. Nevertheless, methodological standards in the conducted trials were too low for assured empirical evidence in their efficacy.

Conclusions. Biofeedback methods could be applied to patients to a greater extent. Probably due to the missing empirical evidence of efficacy and the high demand on patients’ and therapists’ time and commitment and therefore low cost effectiveness, these methods are hardly offered. Especially the relatively new approach of GSR biofeedback represents a promising option here.

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