Pilot Study Investigation of Auditory and Visual Stimulation in the
Reduction of Stimulant Medication Intake of ADHD Subjects
by Ruth Olmstead, M.A.
The first purpose of this study was to demonstrate improvement in ADHD symptoms using AVS treatment, and investigate whether there would be a significant difference among subjects who reported no progress or decrease in symptomology, those who showed mild progress, those who reported moderate progress, and those who showed significant progress. It was predicted there would be improvement in ADHD symptoms in subjects within the four progress categories.
Table 1 summarizes the age break-down of the age of subjects, and the amount of symptom reduction reported by the subjects.
Age Break-Down and Amount of Symptom Reduction Break-Down
0 Mild Moderate Sign Total
6 yrs. 50% (2) 50% (2) 4
7-8 yrs. 42% (5) 33% (4) 25% (3) 12
9-10 yrs. 12% (2) 18% (3) 41% (7) 30%(5) 17
11-12 yrs. 17% (1) 17% (1) 33% (2) 50%(3) 6
13-15 yrs. 7% (1) 20% (3) 53% (8) 20%(3) 12
16-19 yrs. 100% (2) 2
20 yrs.+ 63% (5) 12% (1) 25% (2) 8
A chi-square test (3 df) was statistically significant x^(3) = 13.83, p<.01. It appeared that greater percentages made moderate and significant amounts of progress.
It was noted that of the 65 subjects undergoing AVS treatment, 68% demonstrated moderate to significant progress as a result of treatment. A chi-square test (1 df) was statistically significant x^(1) = 8.14, p<.01. This demonstrates a significant difference from the 32% who made no progress. Table 2 summarizes the results of progress break-down in regards to reduction of stimulant medication using AVS.
Progress in Medication Reduction Break-Down (n = 25)
0 change in medication intake: 6 (24%)
Able to reduce medication intake: 11 (44%)
Able to go off medication completely: 8 (32%)
The age break-down indicated in Table 2 demonstrates that 6 subjects experienced no change in medication intake (24%), eleven subjects (44%) were able to reduce medication intake, and eight subjects (32%) were able to discontinue medication completely. A chi-square test (6 df) was not statistically significant x^(6) = 6.45, NS. This demonstrates that there was no relationship between age and the four categories of amount of symptom reduction.
The second part of this study was to compare the effectiveness of AVS with that of medication in reducing the symptoms of ADHD. It was predicted there would be a reduction of medication intake in the subjects on stimulant medication after AVS treatment. The hypothesis was confirmed. Analysis of data gathered utilized a chi-square test, with a level of significance of .05. Of the 25 subjects taking stimulant medication prior to beginning AVS treatment, 76 percent reduced or discontinued stimulant medication, and 24 percent did not. A chi-square test (1 df) was significant x^(1) = 13.0, p<.001.
This pilot study suggests that an AVS treatment program can lead to significant reduction in ADHD symptoms. Based on DSM-IV criteria checklists that were completed pre and post AVS treatment, it was reported that there was a significant reduction in cognitive and behavioral symptomology. AVS treatment resulted in significant change in the reduction of medication intake within the subjects who were taking stimulant medication prior to treatment.
The results of this pilot study indicates that Audio Visual Stimulation appears to be a viable, non-drug approach to the treatment of ADHD symptoms. AVS intervention is also a cost effective alternative to the long term use of medication, if it results in long term symptom reduction.
This study did not measure specific academic improvements, thus further studies need to be conducted that include the implementation of more varied quantitative testing in many areas, such as standardized academic testing, behaviorrating scales, and measures of social functioning.
There was no control group so between-measures could not be compared in terms of reduction of symptoms between subjects on stimulant medication and those who were not. This study also did not include follow up measures, so the long term efficacy of AVS is unknown.
Current studies in the search to identify the correlates of ADHD such as inattention, impulsivity, and hyperactivity, have been inconclusive in their findings due to many inconsistencies within brain research findings. Further studies utilizing auditory and visual stimulation need to be conducted with more precise measures and larger samples utilizing brain imaging and EEG correlation, as well as neuropsychologic measures and academic and IQ testing to determine the overall effectiveness of AVS for neurological and academic enhancement and treatment.
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Copyright: AVS Journal, Michael Landgraf, Publisher and Ruth Olmstead, Author. All rights reserved.