Effect of neurofeedback therapy on neurological post-COVID-19 complications (A pilot study)

PLoS One. 2022 Jul 27;17(7):e0271350. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0271350. eCollection 2022.


Objective: Anxiety, fatigue and depression are common neurological manifestations after COVID-19. So far, post-COVID complications were treated by rehabilitation, oxygen therapy and immunotherapy. Effects of neurofeedback on post-COVID complications and their potential interrelatedness have not been studied yet. In this pilot study, we investigated the effectiveness of neurofeedback (Othmer method) for treatment of fatigue, anxiety, and depression after COVID-19.

Methods: 10 participants met inclusion criteria for having positive anamnesis of at least one of the following complications following COVID-19: fatigue, anxiety, and depression which were measured by questionnaires. ANOVA was used for calculating differences in questionnaire score before and after neurofeedback. Pearson's correlation coefficient was used to calculate correlations between anxiety, depression and fatigue.

Results: After five neurofeedback sessions, there came to significant reduction of severity of post-COVID anxiety and depression persisting for at least one month. Effect of neurofeedback on fatigue was insignificant. Severity of anxiety, fatigue and depression as well as reductions in depression and fatigue were positively correlated with each other.

Conclusion: These findings showed effectiveness neurofeedback for reducing anxiety and depression after COVID-19 and for studying correlations between neurological complications after COVID-19. However, since our pilot clinical trial was open-label, it is hard to differentiate between neurofeedback-specific and unspecific effects on our participants. Future randomized controlled trials with more robust sample are necessary to investigate feasibility of neurofeedback for post-COVID neurological complications. The study has identification number trial ID ISRCTN49037874 in ISRCTN register of clinical trials (Retrospectively registered).

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anxiety / etiology
  • Anxiety / therapy
  • COVID-19* / complications
  • COVID-19* / therapy
  • Depression / etiology
  • Depression / therapy
  • Fatigue / etiology
  • Fatigue / therapy
  • Humans
  • Neurofeedback* / methods
  • Pilot Projects

Grants and funding

This study was supported by Programme COOPERATIO of Third Faculty of Medicine, Charles University. The funders supported decision to publish this manuscript and they had no role in study design, data collection and analysis or preparation of the manuscript.