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Emotion regulation in Schizophrenia: A comparison between implicit (EEG and fNIRS) and explicit (valence) measures: Preliminary observations

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... Nonetheless, the clinical applications in treatment monitoring are still inconsistent. In fact, the brain effects of different psychiatric or psychological treatments still need to be explored, to reveal changes in information processing, to investigate the mechanisms of neural plasticity, and to compare the effects on the brain during different types of intervention, thus permitting the development of new interventions (Linden and Fallgatter, 2009;Balconi et al., 2018). ...
... However, the existing studies are only preliminary and generally not exhaustive in term of experimental paradigm (no imaging evidences after NF treatment (Naimijoo et al., 2015), sample size (only single or few cases, Schummer, 2008;Balconi et al., 2018) or specific type of treatment). ...
... Thus, starting from our previous protocol (Balconi et al., 2018) which was preliminarily applied to a small sample of patients, we conducted the present study with the aim to evaluate the efficacy of an NF intervention to improve emotional regulation in a larger sample of S patients by means of a neurophysiological assessment. The assessment was conducted during a passive emotional task to explore the brain mechanisms related to emotional processing before and after the training (pre/post), following a multi-method approach with both electrophysiological and hemodynamic measures. ...
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Previous research on Schizophrenia (S) revealed anomalies in brain responsiveness during emotion processing, as shown by neuroimaging and electroencephalography (EEG) measures. Nonetheless preserved capacities to explicitly evaluate the emotional significance of affective stimuli in term of valence have been found. The present study applied functional Near-Infrared Spectroscopy (fNIRS) and EEG to explore the spatial and temporal expressions of emotion processing in the brain before (T0) and after (T2) an emotional Neurofeedback (NF) training of patients, assigned to the control or the experimental group. Explicit measures revealed correct identifications of stimuli emotional valence before (T0) and after (T2) the treatment, while implicit measures (EEG and fNIRS) showed a modulation and increased competencies only after the NF (T2), with more balanced prefrontal activity.
... Moreover, these advantages have made this technique particularly adequate for investigating brain function in a variety of specific healthy and clinical populations such as children and adults' functional organization and their social brain functioning since it does not impose closed, tight or noisy environment, and can be also applied at the bedside or while moving. Previously it has also been demonstrated to be a promising tool to investigate psychiatric or neurodegenerative diseases [3][4][5]). To get more in detail, fNIRS allows a better temporal resolution recording but has a lower spatial resolution than fMRI; on the other hand, it has a higher tolerance to motion artifact and it gives the chance to monitor O2Hb and not only HHb, as provided by fMRI. ...
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Functional Near Infrared Spectroscopy (fNIRS) is a relatively new neuroimagingtechnique adequate and useful for exploring neural activity in social contexts involving humaninteractions. Compared to functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI), fNIRS is easy-to-usesafe, noninvasive, silent, relatively low cost and portable, and applicable to subjects of all ages, thusresulting in a good option for ecological studies involving humans in their real-life context.Moreover, by using hyperscanning technique, fNIRS allows recording the hemodynamic cerebralactivity of two interacting subjects in an ecological context or during a shared performance. Thus,moving from a simple analysis about each subject’s neural response during joint actions towardsmore complex computations makes possible to investigate brain synchrony, that is the if and howone’s brain activity is related to that of another interacting partner simultaneously recorded. Here,we discuss how connectivity analyses, with respect to both time and frequency domain procedures,permitted to deepen some aspects of inter-brain synchrony in relation to emotional closeness, and tohighlight how concurrent, cooperative actions can lead to interpersonal synchrony and bondconstruction.
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This perspective considers the present and the future role of different neuroimaging techniques in the field of psychiatry. After identifying shortcomings of the mainly symptom-focussed diagnostic processes and treatment decisions in modern psychiatry, we suggest topics where neuroimaging methods have the potential to help. These include better understanding of the pathophysiology, improved diagnoses, assistance in therapeutic decisions and the supervision of treatment success by direct assessment of improvement in disease-related brain functions. These different questions are illustrated by examples from neuroimaging studies, with a focus on severe mental and neuropsychiatric illnesses such as schizophrenia and depression. Despite all reservations addressed in the article, we are optimistic that neuroimaging has a huge potential with regard to the above-mentioned questions. We expect that neuroimaging will play an increasing role in the future refinement of the diagnostic process and aid in the development of new therapies in the field of psychiatry.
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Very diverse assessment procedures are utilized by neurofeedback practitioners, many of which are not based on careful examination of raw EEG data followed by scientifically objective quantitative EEG (QEEG) database comparisons. Research is reviewed demonstrating the great heterogeneity in the EEG patterns associated with various diagnoses and symptoms. The fact that most patients qualify for dual diagnoses, with co-morbid psychiatric and medical conditions present, complicates the ability of clinicians to estimate what electrophysiological patterns may be associated with symptoms. In such cases treatment planning is characterized by a great deal of guesswork and experimentation. Peer reviewed publications have documented that neurofeedback treatment can sometimes be associated with both transient side effects as well as more serious negative effects. It is believed that the lack of comprehensive and objective assessment of brain functioning may increase the risk of neurofeedback either being ineffective or causing iatrogenic harm. QEEG provides reliable, non-invasive, objective, culture-free and relatively low cost evaluation of brain functioning, permitting individualization of treatment and added liability protection.
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In reviewing the neuropsychophysiological evidence of functional asymmetry it is proposed that schizophrenia is characterized by a greater dispersion of leftward and rightward asymmetries. The two extremes are represented by active (left greater than right) and withdrawn (right greater than left) syndromes, as is the case with psychometric schizotypy. Syndrome-asymmetry relations extended beyond fronto-temporal systems to include posterior activity, infracortical motoneuron excitability, and individual differences in interhemispheric connectivity and directional biases. Central to these are lateral imbalances in thalamo-cortical and callosal arousal systems, while centrality to schizophrenia follows evidence of reversals in asymmetry with changes in symptom profile, clinical recovery, and neuroleptic treatment. Affinities are found in intact animals from challenge-induced turning tendencies representing coordinated activity of attentional, motor, and reinforcement systems. In both patients and animals, neuroleptics have reciprocal interhemispheric effects, with a bidirectionality that depends on syndrome or endogenous turning preference. Bidirectionality implicates nonspecific thalamic system (NSTS) and not limbic projections. It is proposed that the asymmetries arise from endogenous influences of genes, hormones, and early experience including stressors on NSTS asymmetry, and these underpin approach/withdrawal behavior that is manifested in temperament, personality, and clinical syndrome, and which precedes language development.
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