Neurofeedback fMRI-mediated learning and consolidation of regional brain activation during motor imagery. Int J Imaging Syst Technol

Department of Radiology, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA.
International Journal of Imaging Systems and Technology (Impact Factor: 1.3). 01/2008; 18(1):69-78. DOI: 10.1002/ima.20139
Source: PubMed


We report the long-term effect of real-time functional MRI (rtfMRI) training on voluntary regulation of the level of activation from a hand motor area. During the performance of a motor imagery task of a right hand, blood-oxygenation-level-dependent (BOLD) signal originating from a primary motor area was presented back to the subject in real-time. Demographically matched individuals also received the same procedure without valid feedback information. Followed by the initial rtfMRI sessions, both groups underwent two-week long, daily-practice of the task. Off-line data analysis revealed that the individuals in the experimental group were able to increase the level of BOLD signal from the regulatory target to a greater degree compared to the control group. Furthermore, the learned level of activation was maintained after the two-week period, with the recruitment of additional neural circuitries such as the hippocampus and the limbo-thalamo-cortical pathway. The activation obtained from the control group, in the absence of proper feedback, was indifferent across the training conditions. The level of BOLD activity from the target regulatory region was positively correlated with a self evaluative score within the experimental group, while the majority of control subjects had difficulty adopting a strategy to attain the desired level of functional regulation. Our results suggest that rtfMRI helped individuals learn how to increase region-specific cortical activity associated with a motor imagery task, and the level of increased activation in motor areas was consolidated after the two-week self-practice period, with the involvement of neural circuitries implicated in motor skill learning.

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    • "updated from our previously developed in-house codes (Lee, Kim, & Yoo, 2012; Lee et al., 2008, 2009; Yoo et al., 2007, 2008). The rtfMRI-NF software was installed on a laptop computer (Intel Core i5 2.4 GHz, 8-GB RAM, 256-GB SSD as hard drive, Windows 7). "
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    ABSTRACT: Real-time fMRI (rtfMRI) neurofeedback (NF) facilitates volitional control over brain activity and the modulation of associated mental functions. The NF signals of traditional rtfMRI-NF studies predominantly reflect neuronal activity within ROIs. In this study, we describe a novel rtfMRI-NF approach that includes a functional connectivity (FC) component in the NF signal (FC-added rtfMRI-NF). We estimated the efficacy of the FC-added rtfMRI-NF method by applying it to nicotine-dependent heavy smokers in an effort to reduce cigarette craving. ACC and medial pFC as well as the posterior cingulate cortex and precuneus are associated with cigarette craving and were chosen as ROIs. Fourteen heavy smokers were randomly assigned to receive one of two types of NF: traditional activity-based rtfMRI-NF or FC-added rtfMRI-NF. Participants received rtfMRI-NF training during two separate visits after overnight smoking cessation, and cigarette craving score was assessed. The FC-added rtfMRI-NF resulted in greater neuronal activity and increased FC between the targeted ROIs than the traditional activity-based rtfMRI-NF and resulted in lower craving score. In the FC-added rtfMRI-NF condition, the average of neuronal activity and FC was tightly associated with craving score (Bonferroni-corrected p = .028). However, in the activity-based rtfMRI-NF condition, no association was detected (uncorrected p > .081). Non-rtfMRI data analysis also showed enhanced neuronal activity and FC with FC-added NF than with activity-based NF. These results demonstrate that FC-added rtfMRI-NF facilitates greater volitional control over brain activity and connectivity and greater modulation of mental function than activity-based rtfMRI-NF.
    Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience 03/2015; 27(8):1-21. DOI:10.1162/jocn_a_00802 · 4.09 Impact Factor
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    • "The use of rtfMRI-based neurofeedback in training individuals to self-modulate the activities in motor and motor-associated cortices has been of great interest because the technique may be potentially useful to improve the motor skills of healthy individuals and to promote the motor rehabilitation of patients with central nervous system injuries, such as stroke or other physical disabilities. Some early rtfMRI studies suggest that the activities of motor or somatosensory areas can be modulated in real time via neurofeedback training (Chiew et al., 2012; deCharms et al., 2004; Yoo et al., 2008). "
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    ABSTRACT: Although the neurofeedback of real-time fMRI can reportedly enable people to gain control of the activity in the premotor cortex (PMA) during motor imagery, it is unclear how the neurofeedback training of PMA affect the motor network engaged in the motor execution (ME) and imagery (MI) task. In this study, we investigated the changes in the motor network engaged in both ME and MI task induced by real-time neurofeedback training of the right PMA. The neurofeedback training induced changes in activity of the ME-related motor network as well as alterations in the functional connectivity of both the ME-related and MI-related motor networks. Especially, the percent signal change of the right PMA in the last training run was found to be significantly correlated with the connectivity between the right PMA and the left posterior parietal lobe (PPL) during the pre-training MI run, post-training MI run and the last training run. Moreover, the increase in the tapping frequency was significantly correlated with the increase of connectivity between the right cerebellum and the primary motor area / primary sensory area (M1/S1) of the ME-related motor network after neurofeedback training. These findings show the importance of the connectivity between the right PMA and left PPL of the MI network for the up-regulation of the right PMA as well as the critical role of connectivity between the right cerebellum and M1/S1 of the ME network in improving the behavioral performance.
    Neuropsychologia 07/2014; 62(1). DOI:10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2014.07.012 · 3.30 Impact Factor
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    • "Moreover, the activation of this region after MI training was as robust as that recorded during actual practice. In a more recent study, Yoo et al. (2008) showed that real time fMRI might help individuals to learn how to increase region-specific cortical activity associated with a MI task. "

    Advanced Brain Neuroimaging Topics in Health and Disease - Methods and Applications, Edited by T. Dorina Papageorgiou, George I. Christopoulos, Stelios M. Smirnakis, 05/2014: chapter 16; In Tech., ISBN: 978-953-51-1203-7
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