Modulation of subgenual anterior cingulate cortex activity with real-time neurofeedback.

Department of Psychology, Stanford University, Stanford, California 94305, USA.
Human Brain Mapping (Impact Factor: 6.92). 01/2011; 32(1):22-31. DOI: 10.1002/hbm.20997
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The advent of real-time neurofeedback techniques has allowed us to begin to map the controllability of sensory and cognitive and, more recently, affective centers in the brain. The subgenual anterior cingulate cortex (sACC) is thought to be involved in generation of affective states and has been implicated in psychopathology. In this study, we examined whether individuals could use real-time fMRI neurofeedback to modulate sACC activity. Following a localizer task used to identify an sACC region of interest, an experimental group of eight women participated in four scans: (1) a pretraining scan in which they were asked to decrease activity in the sACC without neurofeedback; (2) two training scans in which sACC neurofeedback was presented along with instructions to decrease sACC activity; and (3) a neurofeedback-free post-training scan. An additional nine women in a yoked feedback control group saw sACC activity from the participants in the experimental group. Activity in the sACC was significantly reduced during neurofeedback training in the experimental group, but not in the control group. This training effect in the experimental group, however, did not generalize to the neurofeedback-free post-training scan. A psychophysiological interaction analysis showed decreased correlation in the experimental group relative to the sham control group between activity in the sACC and the posterior cingulate cortex during neurofeedback training relative to neurofeedback-free scans. The finding that individuals can down-modulate the sACC shows that a primary emotion center in which functional abnormality has been strongly implicated in affective disorders can be controlled with the aid of neurofeedback.

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    ABSTRACT: Recently, numerous efforts have been made to understand the neural mechanisms underlying cognitive regulation of emotion, such as cognitive reappraisal. Many studies have reported that cognitive control of emotion induces increases in neural activity of the control system, including the prefrontal cortex and the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex, and increases or decreases (depending upon the regulation goal) in neural activity of the appraisal system, including the amygdala and the insula. It has been hypothesized that information about regulation goals needs to be processed through interactions between the control and appraisal systems in order to support cognitive reappraisal. However, how this information is represented in the dynamics of cortical activity remains largely unknown. To address this, we investigated temporal changes in gamma band activity (35-55 Hz) in human electroencephalograms during a cognitive reappraisal task that was comprised of three reappraisal goals: to decease, maintain, or increase emotional responses modulated by affect-laden pictures. We examined how the characteristics of gamma oscillations, such as spectral power and large-scale phase synchronization, represented cognitive reappraisal goals. We found that left frontal gamma power decreased, was sustained, or increased when the participants suppressed, maintained, or amplified their emotions, respectively. This change in left frontal gamma power appeared during an interval of 1926 to 2453 ms after stimulus onset. We also found that the number of phase-synchronized pairs of gamma oscillations over the entire brain increased when participants regulated their emotions compared to when they maintained their emotions. These results suggest that left frontal gamma power may reflect cortical representation of emotional states modulated by cognitive reappraisal goals and gamma phase synchronization across whole brain regions may reflect emotional regulatory efforts to achieve these goals. Our study may provide the basis for an electroencephalogram-based neurofeedback system for the cognitive regulation of emotion.
    PLoS ONE 11/2014; 9(11):e113375. · 3.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: To elucidate basic mechanisms underlying neurofeedback we investigated neural mechanisms of training of slow cortical potentials (SCPs) by considering EEG- and fMRI. Additionally, we analyzed the feasibility of a double-blind, placebo-controlled design in NF research based on regulation performance during treatment sessions and self-assessment of the participants. Twenty healthy adults participated in 16 sessions of SCPs training: 9 participants received regular SCP training, 11 participants received sham feedback. At three time points (pre, intermediate, post) fMRI and EEG/ERP-measurements were conducted during a continuous performance test (CPT). Performance-data during the sessions (regulation performance) in the treatment group and the placebo group were analyzed. Analysis of EEG-activity revealed in the SCP group a strong enhancement of the CNV (electrode Cz) at the intermediate assessment, followed by a decrease back to baseline at the post-treatment assessment. In contrast, in the placebo group a continuous but smaller increase of the CNV could be obtained from pre to post assessment. The increase of the CNV in the SCP group at intermediate testing was superior to the enhancement in the placebo group. The changes of the CNV were accompanied by a continuous improvement in the test performance of the CPT from pre to intermediate to post assessment comparable in both groups. The change of the CNV in the SCP group is interpreted as an indicator of neural plasticity and efficiency while an increase of the CNV in the placebo group might reflect learning and improved timing due to the frequent task repetition. In the fMRI analysis evidence was obtained for neuronal plasticity. After regular SCP neurofeedback activation in the posterior parietal cortex decreased from the pre- to the intermediate measurement and increased again in the post measurement, inversely following the U-shaped increase and decrease of the tCNV EEG amplitude in the SCP-trained group. Furthermore, we found a localized increase of activity in the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC). Analyses of the estimation of treatment assignment by the participants indicate feasibility of blinding. Participants could not assess treatment assignment confidently. Participants of the SCP-group improved regulation capability during treatment sessions (in contrast to the participants of the placebo-group), although regulation capability appeared to be instable, presumably due to diminished confidence in the training (SCP- or sham-training). Our results indicate that SCP training in healthy adults might lead to functional changes in neuronal circuits serving cognitive preparation even after a limited number of sessions.
    Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 11/2014; · 2.90 Impact Factor

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