[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Amygdala hemodynamic responses to positive stimuli are attenuated in major depressive disorder (MDD), and normalize with remission. Real-time functional MRI neurofeedback (rtfMRI-nf) offers a non-invasive method to modulate this regional activity. We examined whether depressed participants can use rtfMRI-nf to enhance amygdala responses to positive autobiographical memories, and whether this ability alters symptom severity.
Unmedicated MDD subjects were assigned to receive rtfMRI-nf from either left amygdala (LA; experimental group, n = 14) or the horizontal segment of the intraparietal sulcus (HIPS; control group, n = 7) and instructed to contemplate happy autobiographical memories (AMs) to raise the level of a bar representing the hemodynamic signal from the target region to a target level. This 40s Happy condition alternated with 40s blocks of rest and counting backwards. A final Transfer run without neurofeedback information was included.
Participants in the experimental group upregulated their amygdala responses during positive AM recall. Significant pre-post scan decreases in anxiety ratings and increases in happiness ratings were evident in the experimental versus control group. A whole brain analysis showed that during the transfer run, participants in the experimental group had increased activity compared to the control group in left superior temporal gyrus and temporal polar cortex, and right thalamus.
Using rtfMRI-nf from the left amygdala during recall of positive AMs, depressed subjects were able to self-regulate their amygdala response, resulting in improved mood. Results from this proof-of-concept study suggest that rtfMRI-nf training with positive AM recall holds potential as a novel therapeutic approach in the treatment of depression.
PLoS ONE 01/2014; 9(2):e88785. · 3.73 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Neurofeedback is a promising approach for non-invasive modulation of human brain activity with applications for treatment of mental disorders and enhancement of brain performance. Neurofeedback techniques are commonly based on either electroencephalography (EEG) or real-time functional magnetic resonance imaging (rtfMRI). Advances in simultaneous EEG-fMRI have made it possible to combine the two approaches. Here we report the first implementation of simultaneous multimodal rtfMRI and EEG neurofeedback (rtfMRI-EEG-nf). It is based on a novel system for real-time integration of simultaneous rtfMRI and EEG data streams. We applied the rtfMRI-EEG-nf to training of emotional self-regulation in healthy subjects performing a positive emotion induction task based on retrieval of happy autobiographical memories. The participants were able to simultaneously regulate their BOLD fMRI activation in the left amygdala and frontal EEG power asymmetry in the high-beta band using the rtfMRI-EEG-nf. Our proof-of-concept results demonstrate the feasibility of simultaneous self-regulation of both hemodynamic (rtfMRI) and electrophysiological (EEG) activity of the human brain. They suggest potential applications of rtfMRI-EEG-nf in the development of novel cognitive neuroscience research paradigms and enhanced cognitive therapeutic approaches for major neuropsychiatric disorders, particularly depression.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Low-frequency temporal fluctuations of physiological signals (<0.1 Hz), such as the respiration and cardiac pulse rate, occur naturally during rest and have been shown to be correlated with blood-oxygenation-level-dependent (BOLD) signal fluctuation. Such physiological signal modulations have been considered as sources of noise and their effects on BOLD signal are commonly removed in functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) studies. However, possible neural correlates of the physiological fluctuations have not been considered nor examined in detail. In the present study we investigated this possibility by simultaneously acquiring electroencephalogram (EEG) with BOLD fMRI data, respiratory and cardiac waveforms in healthy human subjects at eyes-closed and eyes-open resting. We quantified the concurrent changes of the EEG power in the alpha frequency band, the respiration volume, and the cardiac pulse rate, then assessed the temporal correlations between alpha EEG power and physiological signal fluctuations. In addition, time-shifted time courses of alpha EEG power or physiological data were included as regressors to examine their correlations with the whole-brain BOLD fMRI signals. We observed a significant correlation between alpha EEG global field power and respiration, particularly at eyes-closed resting condition. Similar spatial patterns were observed between the correlation maps of BOLD with alpha EEG power and respiration, with negative correlations coinciding in the visual cortex, superior/middle temporal gyrus, inferior frontal gyrus, and inferior parietal lobule and positive correlations in the thalamus and caudate. Regressing out the physiological variations in the BOLD signal resulted in reduced correlation between BOLD and alpha EEG power. These results suggest a mutual link of neuronal origin between alpha EEG power, respiration, and BOLD signals.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We observed in a previous study (PLoS ONE 6:e24522) that the self-regulation of amygdala activity via real-time fMRI neurofeedback (rtfMRI-nf) with positive emotion induction was associated, in healthy participants, with an enhancement in the functional connectivity between the left amygdala (LA) and six regions of the prefrontal cortex. These regions included the left rostral anterior cingulate cortex (rACC), bilateral dorsomedial prefrontal cortex (DMPFC), bilateral superior frontal gyrus (SFG), and right medial frontopolar cortex (MFPC). Together with the LA, these six prefrontal regions thus formed the functional neuroanatomical network engaged during the rtfMRI-nf procedure. Here we perform a structural vector autoregression (SVAR) analysis of the effective connectivity for this network. The SVAR analysis demonstrates that the left rACC plays an important role during the rtfMRI-nf training, modulating the LA and the other network regions. According to the analysis, the rtfMRI-nf training leads to a significant enhancement in the time-lagged effect of the left rACC on the LA, potentially consistent with the ipsilateral distribution of the monosynaptic projections between these regions. The training is also accompanied by significant increases in the instantaneous (contemporaneous) effects of the left rACC on four other regions - the bilateral DMPFC, the right MFPC, and the left SFG. The instantaneous effects of the LA on the bilateral DMPFC are also significantly enhanced. Our results are consistent with a broad literature supporting the role of the rACC in emotion processing and regulation. Our exploratory analysis provides, for the first time, insights into the causal relationships within the network of regions engaged during the rtfMRI-nf procedure targeting the amygdala. It suggests that the rACC may constitute a promising target for rtfMRI-nf training along with the amygdala in patients with affective disorders, particularly posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
PLoS ONE 01/2013; 8(11):e79184. · 3.73 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We propose a method for retrospective motion correction of fMRI data in simultaneous EEG-fMRI that employs the EEG array as a sensitive motion detector. EEG motion artifacts are used to generate motion regressors describing rotational head movements with millisecond temporal resolution. These regressors are utilized for slice-specific motion correction of unprocessed fMRI data. Performance of the method is demonstrated by correction of fMRI data from five patients with major depressive disorder, who exhibited head movements by 1-3mm during a resting EEG-fMRI run. The fMRI datasets, corrected using eight to ten EEG-based motion regressors, show significant improvements in temporal SNR (TSNR) of fMRI time series, particularly in the frontal brain regions and near the surface of the brain. The TSNR improvements are as high as 50% for large brain areas in single-subject analysis and as high as 25% when the results are averaged across the subjects. Simultaneous application of the EEG-based motion correction and physiological noise correction by means of RETROICOR leads to average TSNR enhancements as high as 35% for extended brain regions. These TSNR improvements are largely preserved after the subsequent fMRI volume registration and regression of fMRI motion parameters. The proposed EEG-assisted method of retrospective fMRI motion correction (referred to as E-REMCOR) can be applied to improve quality of fMRI data with severe motion artifacts and to reduce spurious correlations between the EEG and fMRI data caused by head movements. It does not require any specialized equipment beyond the standard EEG-fMRI instrumentation and can be applied retrospectively to any existing EEG-fMRI data set.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Neuroimaging research suggests that the resting cerebral physiology is characterized by complex patterns of neuronal activity in widely distributed functional networks. As studied using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) of the blood-oxygenation-level dependent (BOLD) signal, the resting brain activity is associated with slowly fluctuating hemodynamic signals (~10s). More recently, multimodal functional imaging studies involving simultaneous acquisition of BOLD-fMRI and electroencephalography (EEG) data have suggested that the relatively slow hemodynamic fluctuations of some resting state networks (RSNs) evinced in the BOLD data are related to much faster (~100 ms) transient brain states reflected in EEG signals, that are referred to as "microstates". To further elucidate the relationship between microstates and RSNs, we developed a fully data-driven approach that combines information from simultaneously recorded, high-density EEG and BOLD-fMRI data. Using independent component analysis (ICA) of the combined EEG and fMRI data, we identified thirteen microstates and ten RSNs that are organized independently in their temporal and spatial characteristics, respectively. We hypothesized that the intrinsic brain networks that are active at rest would be reflected in both the EEG data and the fMRI data. To test this hypothesis, the rapid fluctuations associated with each microstate were correlated with the BOLD-fMRI signal associated with each RSN. We found that each RSN was characterized further by a specific electrophysiological signature involving from one to a combination of several microstates. Moreover, by comparing the time course of EEG microstates to that of the whole-brain BOLD signal, on a multi-subject group level, we unraveled for the first time a set of microstate-associated networks that correspond to a range of previously described RSNs, including visual, sensorimotor, auditory, attention, frontal, visceromotor and default mode networks. These results extend our understanding of the electrophysiological signature of BOLD RSNs and demonstrate the intrinsic connection between the fast neuronal activity and slow hemodynamic fluctuations.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Real-time functional magnetic resonance imaging (rtfMRI) with neurofeedback allows investigation of human brain neuroplastic changes that arise as subjects learn to modulate neurophysiological function using real-time feedback regarding their own hemodynamic responses to stimuli. We investigated the feasibility of training healthy humans to self-regulate the hemodynamic activity of the amygdala, which plays major roles in emotional processing. Participants in the experimental group were provided with ongoing information about the blood oxygen level dependent (BOLD) activity in the left amygdala (LA) and were instructed to raise the BOLD rtfMRI signal by contemplating positive autobiographical memories. A control group was assigned the same task but was instead provided with sham feedback from the left horizontal segment of the intraparietal sulcus (HIPS) region. In the LA, we found a significant BOLD signal increase due to rtfMRI neurofeedback training in the experimental group versus the control group. This effect persisted during the Transfer run without neurofeedback. For the individual subjects in the experimental group the training effect on the LA BOLD activity correlated inversely with scores on the Difficulty Identifying Feelings subscale of the Toronto Alexithymia Scale. The whole brain data analysis revealed significant differences for Happy Memories versus Rest condition between the experimental and control groups. Functional connectivity analysis of the amygdala network revealed significant widespread correlations in a fronto-temporo-limbic network. Additionally, we identified six regions--right medial frontal polar cortex, bilateral dorsomedial prefrontal cortex, left anterior cingulate cortex, and bilateral superior frontal gyrus--where the functional connectivity with the LA increased significantly across the rtfMRI neurofeedback runs and the Transfer run. The findings demonstrate that healthy subjects can learn to regulate their amygdala activation using rtfMRI neurofeedback, suggesting possible applications of rtfMRI neurofeedback training in the treatment of patients with neuropsychiatric disorders.
PLoS ONE 01/2011; 6(9):e24522. · 3.73 Impact Factor