Neurofeedback and its possible relevance for the treatment of Tourette syndrome

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Abstract

Neurofeedback is an increasingly recognized therapeutic option in various neuropsychiatric disorders to treat dysfunctions in cognitive control as well as disorder-specific symptoms. In this review we propose that neurofeedback may also reflect a valuable therapeutic option to treat executive control functions in Gilles-de-la-Tourette syndrome (GTS). Deficits in executive control functions when ADHD symptoms appear in GTS likely reflect pathophysiological processes in cortico-thalamic-striatal circuits and may also underlie the motor symptoms in GTS. Such executive control deficits evident in comorbid GTS/ADHD depend on neurophysiological processes well-known to be modifiable by neurofeedback. However, so far efforts to use neurofeedback to treat cognitive dysfunctions are scarce. We outline why neurofeedback should be considered a promising treatment option, what forms of neurofeedback may prove to be most effective and how neurofeedback may be implemented in existing intervention strategies to treat comorbid GTS/ADHD and associated dysfunctions in cognitive control. As cognitive control deficits in GTS mostly appear in comorbid GTS/ADHD, neurofeedback may be most useful in this frequent combination of disorders.

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