A randomised controlled trial of the Neuro Emotional Technique (NET) for childhood Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD): a protocol

Fay Karpouzis, Henry Pollard, Rod Bonello

Trials 2009, 10:6 doi:10.1186/1745-6215-10-6


Background:  An abundance of literature is dedicated to research for the treatment of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Most is in the area of pharmacological therapies with less emphasis in psychotherapy and psychosocial interventions and even less in the area of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM).

The use of CAM has increased over the years, especially for developmental and behavioral disorders, such as ADHD. 60-65% of parents with children with ADHD have used CAM. Medical evidence supports a multidisciplinary approach (i.e. pharmacological and psychosocial) for the best clinical outcomes. The Neuro Emotional Technique (NET), a branch of Chiropractic, was designed to address the biopsychosocial aspects of acute and chronic conditions including non- musculoskeletal conditions. Anecdotally, it has been suggested that ADHD may be managed effectively by NET.

Design/methods:  A placebo controlled, double blind randomised clinical trial was designed to assess the effectiveness of NET on a cohort of children with medically diagnosed ADHD. Children aged 5-12 years who met the inclusion criteria were randomised to one of three groups. The control group continued on their existing medical regimen and the intervention and placebo groups had the addition of the NET and sham NET protocols added to their regimen respectively. These two groups attended a clinical facility twice a week for the first month and then once a month for six months. The Conners’ Rating Scales (CRS) were used at the start of the study to establish baseline data and then in one month and in seven months time, at the conclusion of the study. The primary outcome measures chosen were the Conners’ ADHD Index and Conners’ Global Index. The secondary outcome measures chosen were the DSM- IV: Inattentive, the DSM-IV:Hyperactive-Impulsive, and the DSM-IV:Total subscales from the Conners’ Rating Scales, monitoring changes in inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity.

Calculations for the sample size were set with a significance level of 0.05 and the power of 80%, yielding a sample size of 93.

Discussion:  The present study should provide information as to whether the addition of NET to an existing medical regimen can improve outcomes for children with ADHD.

Trial registration:  Australian New Zealand Clinical Trial Registration Number: ANZCTRN 012606000332527

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