EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA


March 2, 2014

'Rewiring' won't bring cure for ADD

Dear Doctor,

I have recently read an article suggesting the brain can be rewired through a computer program. How does this work? It is supposed to be a non-drug way to cure ADD. Do you know anything about it?


Dear Interested,

I do know something about the method but have not read the latest study. Hopefully the authors of the study did not use the term “rewire.”

There is no such thing as “rewiring” the brain, at least outside of science fiction movies.

What you are likely referring to is a so-called “neuro-feedback” technique. It involves placing non invasive electrodes on the head. One looks at a screen and attempts to control visual stimuli through concentration and relaxation. The technique was first, to my knowledge, developed at the University of Tennessee. Training requires 80 or so sessions. There is some evidence of above average success in reducing symptoms of “ADD.” As a youngster produces more “theta” waves, focus improves or is supposed to.

This has been known for some time. Drug companies are not thrilled with it. Needless to say insurance companies do not like it.

Candidly, the science has a long way to go.”Rewiring” is certainly not the issue.

In my mind it raises the question about what would happen if classrooms were less busy, not so brightly lit. What would happen if teachers put on quieting music and everyone quietly sat for ten minutes in the morning and afternoon. It is something to think about.


Dr. Larry Larsen is an Andover psychologist. If you would like to ask a question, or respond to one, you can email Dr. Larry Larsen at lrryllrsn@CS.com.

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