|Style over substance|
Neurocore is a "brain training" company, whose primary investors are Trump's Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos and her husband Dick, an Amway heir. Neurocore uses unproven and medically dubious methods to treat autism, ADHD, anxiety, depression and other psychological and neurological diagnoses. The methods include biofeedback. Neurocore, according to one former employee, relies on the hard-sell technique to get customers.
Dr. Matthew Siegel, a child psychiatrist at Maine Behavioral Healthcare and associate professor at Tufts School of Medicine, who co-wrote autism practice standards for the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry stated, "This [Neurocore] causes real harm to children because it diverts attention, hope and resources. If there were something out there that was uniquely powerful and wonderful, we’d all be using it."
In March 2017, Neurocore published its first study of its regimen in the peer-reviewed journal NeuroRegulation. The study however did not have a control group and the journal editor, "Rex Cannon, is himself involved in the brain training business." Despite being a journal with "peer review", publishing a study that lacked basic scientific methods such as having a control group, would tend to suggest that NeuroRegulation might be a pseudojournal. Mark Murrison, the CEO, admitted that the study reported by Neurocore "would not pass the muster of higher-level clinical studies…" Neurocore has also cited as evidence for efficacy third-party studies that lack basic research standards.
On the other hand, a meta-analysis of well-controlled trials for neurofeedback treatment for ADHD failed to support neurofeedback as an effective treatment for ADHD. And contrary to claims of brain-training companies, a large-scale review of brain training methods concluded that "brain-training software can enhance cognition outside the laboratory is limited and inconsistent."
Many brain training firms, including Neurocore, are actually dismissive of higher-quality scientific studies and medical interventions, which is essentially a form of mental illness denial. A Neurocore video stated, "Unlike medication, which temporarily masks your symptoms, neurofeedback promotes healthy changes in your brain to provide you with a lasting solution." Psychiatric medication does not "mask" symptoms as opposed to simply altering chemical balances to achieve a desired effect. And Neurocore founder, Timothy G. Royer, tweeted "#Meds keep us from fixing the real problem". Again, the poor understanding of psychiatry is noted: meds can be the difference between life and death in very dire cases.
- Betsy DeVos Invests in a Therapy Under Scrutiny by Sheri Fink et al. (Jan. 30, 2017) New York Times.
- Combined Neurofeedback and Heart Rate Variability Training for Individuals with Symptoms of Anxiety and Depression: A Retrospective Study by Elyse Kemmerer White et al. (2017) NeuroRegulation vol. 4, no. 1.
- Betsy DeVos has invested millions in this ‘brain training’ company. So I checked it out. At a clinic in Florida, I found that Neurocore seems to be promising more than it can deliver. by Ulrich Boser (May 26, 2017) The Washington Post.
- Neurofeedback for Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder: Meta-Analysis of Clinical and Neuropsychological Outcomes From Randomized Controlled Trials by Samuele Cortese et al. (2016) Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry Volume 55, Issue 6, Pages 444–455. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jaac.2016.03.007.
- Do “Brain-Training” Programs Work? by Daniel J. Simons (2016) Psychological Science in the Public Interest, Vol. 17, Issue 3, pp. 103-186.
- If engine light comes on and you cover with duct tape "engine fixed?". #Meds keep us from fixing the real problem Timothy Royer (3:25 AM - 15 Oct 2015) Twitter.