An open label study of the use of EEG biofeedback using beta training to reduce anxiety for patients with cardiac events

Neuropsychiatr Dis Treat. 2005 Dec;1(4):357-63.


Objective: To establish the effectiveness of EEG biofeedback using beta training as a relaxation technique and ultimately reducing anxiety levels of patients with confirmed unstable angina or myocardial infarction.

Methodology: Patients with confirmed unstable angina or myocardial infarction referred by cardiologists were recruited 2-3 days after their cardiac event from the cardiology wards. Their initial anxiety scores were determined using the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale. Those that returned for therapy underwent instrument feedback training using EEG every two weeks for a total of five sessions. EEG frequencies were measured for all sessions. Dropouts who did not participate in the program agreed to return 3 months later for the second psychological assessment. The study design was uncontrolled.

Results: Subjects had significantly lower anxiety scores at the second screening (p < 0.001), while the dropouts had significantly higher scores (p < 0.001). Beta training was effective in increasing sensory motor rhythm (SMR) waves but no significant effect was present for the alpha waves.

Conclusions: The uncontrolled nature of the study limits firm conclusions. However, the significantly lowered anxiety scores for subjects and enhancing of SMR waves indicate the effectiveness of beta training as a promising approach to EEG biofeedback for anxiety reduction.

Keywords: EEG biofeedback; alpha waves; anxiety; beta waves; cardiac events.