Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Training the brain using neurofeedback

Date:
January 21, 2014
Source:
McGill University
Summary:
A new brain-imaging technique enables people to "watch" their own brain activity in real time and to control or adjust function in predetermined brain regions. The study is the first to demonstrate that magnetoencephalography can be used as a potential therapeutic tool to control and train specific targeted brain regions. This advanced brain-imaging technology has important clinical applications for numerous neurological and neuropsychiatric conditions.

MEG is a non-invasive imaging technology that measures magnetic fields generated by nerve cell circuits in the brain. MEG captures these tiny magnetic fields with remarkable accuracy and has unrivaled time resolution -- a millisecond time scale across the entire brain.
Credit: Courtesy of NIH/National Institute of Mental Health

A new brain-imaging technique enables people to 'watch' their own brain activity in real time and to control or adjust function in pre-determined brain regions. The study from the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital -- The Neuro, McGill University and the McGill University Health Centre, published in NeuroImage, is the first to demonstrate that magnetoencephalography (MEG) can be used as a potential therapeutic tool to control and train specific targeted brain regions. This advanced brain-imaging technology has important clinical applications for numerous neurological and neuropsychiatric conditions.

Related Articles


MEG is a non-invasive imaging technology that measures magnetic fields generated by nerve cell circuits in the brain. MEG captures these tiny magnetic fields with remarkable accuracy and has unrivaled time resolution -- a millisecond time scale across the entire brain. "This means you can observe your own brain activity as it happens," says Dr. Sylvain Baillet, acting Director of the Brain Imaging Centre at The Neuro and lead investigator on the study. "We can use MEG for neurofeedback -- a process by which people can see on-going physiological information that they aren't usually aware of, in this case, their own brain activity, and use that information to train themselves to self-regulate. Our ultimate hope and aim is to enable patients to train specific regions of their own brain, in a way that relates to their particular condition. For example neurofeedback can be used by people with epilepsy so that they could train to modify brain activity in order to avoid a seizure."

In this proof of concept study, participants had nine sessions in the MEG and used neurofeedback to reach a specific target. The target was to look at a coloured disc on a display screen and find their own strategy to change the disc's colour from dark red to bright yellow white, and to maintain that bright colour for as long as possible. The disc colour was indexed on a very specific aspect of their ongoing brain activity: the researchers had set it up so that the experiment was accessing predefined regions of the motor cortex in the participants' brain. The colour presented was changing according to a predefined combination of slow and faster brain activity within these regions. This was possible because the researchers combined MEG with MRI, which provides information on the brain's structures, known as magnetic source imaging (MSI).

"The remarkable thing is that with each training session, the participants were able to reach the target aim faster, even though we were raising the bar for the target objective in each session, the way you raise the bar each time in a high jump competition. These results showed that participants were successfully using neurofeedback to alter their pattern of brain activity according to a predefined objective in specific regions of their brain's motor cortex, without moving any body part. This demonstrates that MEG source imaging can provide brain region-specific real time neurofeedback and that longitudinal neurofeedback training is possible with this technique."

These findings pave the way for MEG as an innovative therapeutic approach for treating patients. To date, work with epilepsy patients has shown the most promise but there is great potential to use MEG to investigate other neurological syndromes and neuropsychiatric disorders (e.g., stroke, dementia, movement disorders, chronic depression, etc). MEG has potential to reveal dynamics of brain activity involved in perception, cognition and behaviour: it has provided unique insight on brain functions (language, motor control, visual and auditory perception, etc.) and dysfunctions (movement disorders, tinnitus, chronic pain, dementia, etc.).

Dr. Baillet and his team are collaborating presently with Prof. Isabelle Peretz at Universitι de Montrιal to use this technique with people that have amusia, a disorder that makes them unable to process musical pitch. It is hypothesized that amusia results from poor connectivity between the auditory cortex and prefrontal regions in the brain. In an ongoing study, the team is measuring the intensity of functional connectivity between these brain regions in amusic patients and aged-matched healthy controls. Using MEG-neurofeedback, they hope to take advantage of the brain's plasticity to reinforce the functional connectivity between the target brain regions. If the approach demonstrates an improvement in pitch discrimination in participants, that will demonstrate the clinical and rehabilitative applications of this approach. The baseline measurements have been taken already, and the training sessions will take place over this year.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by McGill University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Esther Florin, Elizabeth Bock, Sylvain Baillet. Targeted reinforcement of neural oscillatory activity with real-time neuroimaging feedback. NeuroImage, 2013; DOI: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2013.10.028

Cite This Page:

McGill University. "Training the brain using neurofeedback." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 January 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140121113442.htm>.
McGill University. (2014, January 21). Training the brain using neurofeedback. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140121113442.htm
McGill University. "Training the brain using neurofeedback." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140121113442.htm (accessed November 24, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Monday, November 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Winter Can Cause Depression — Here's How To Combat It

Winter Can Cause Depression — Here's How To Combat It

Newsy (Nov. 23, 2014) — Millions of American suffer from seasonal depression every year. It can lead to adverse health effects, but there are ways to ease symptoms. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) — Researchers in Beijing discovered a gene called 5-HTA1, and carriers are reportedly 20 percent more likely to be single. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Milestone Birthdays Can Bring Existential Crisis, Study Says

Milestone Birthdays Can Bring Existential Crisis, Study Says

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) — Researchers find that as people approach new decades in their lives they make bigger life decisions. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
5 Things You Didn't Know About Depression

5 Things You Didn't Know About Depression

Odyssey Networks (Nov. 21, 2014) — According to a new survey by the National Alliance on Mental Illness, over 60% of Americans with a diagnosed mental illness believe their condition worsens around the holidays. Stress, high expectations and loneliness are contributing factors that contribute to the "holiday blues." Video provided by Odyssey
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins