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J Atten Disord. 2013 Jul;17(5):374-83. doi: 10.1177/1087054712460087. Epub 2012 Oct 19.

A decade of EEG Theta/Beta Ratio Research in ADHD: a meta-analysis.

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  • 1Research Institute Brainclinics, Nijmegen, Netherlands.



Many EEG studies have reported that ADHD is characterized by elevated Theta/Beta ratio (TBR). In this study we conducted a meta-analysis on the TBR in ADHD.


TBR data during Eyes Open from location Cz were analyzed from children/adolescents 6-18 years of age with and without ADHD.


Nine studies were identified with a total of 1253 children/adolescents with and 517 without ADHD. The grand-mean effect size (ES) for the 6-13 year-olds was 0.75 and for the 6-18 year-olds was 0.62. However the test for heterogeneity remained significant; therefore these ESs are misleading and considered an overestimation. Post-hoc analysis found a decreasing difference in TBR across years, explained by an increasing TBR for the non-ADHD groups.


Excessive TBR cannot be considered a reliable diagnostic measure of ADHD, however a substantial sub-group of ADHD patients do deviate on this measure and TBR has prognostic value in this sub-group, warranting its use as a prognostic measure rather than a diagnostic measure.


ADHD; EEG; QEEG; Theta/Beta ratio; beta; neurofeedback; theta

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