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 500 000 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 childcare 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 outcome 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.DOI: