Coherence training in children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder: cognitive functions and behavioral changes

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Coherence training in children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder: cognitive functions and behavioral changes

Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is the most prevalent behavioral diagnosis in children, with an estimated 500000 children affected in the United Kingdom alone. The need for an appropriate and effective intervention for children with ADHD is a growing concern for educators and child-care  agencies.  This  randomized  controlled  clinical  trial evaluated the impact of the HeartMath self-regulation skills and  coherence  training  program  (Institute  of  HeartMath, Boulder Creek, California) on a population of 38 children with ADHD in academic year groups 6, 7, and 8. Learning of the skills was supported with heart rhythm coherence monitoring and feedback technology designed to facilitate self-induced shifts in cardiac coherence. The cognitive drug research system was used to assess cognitive functioning as the primary out-come measure. Secondary outcome measures assessed teacher and student reposted changes in behavior. Participants demonstrated significant improvements in various aspects of cognitive functioning such as delayed word recall, immediate word recall,  word  recognition,  and  episodic  secondary  memory. Significant improvements in behavior were also found. The results suggest that the intervention offers a physiologically based program to improve cognitive functioning in children with  ADHD  and  improve  behaviors  that is appropriate to implement in a school environment.

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