Innovative research from Western University (London, Canada) suggest a form of biofeedback training can aid the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Experts believe neurofeedback training helps to alter the plasticity of brain networks linked to the condition.
During neurofeedback, intentional control of one’s own brain activity may be learned via a brain-computer interface, which is able to graphically display a person’s real-time brain activation on a computer monitor.
The brain waves are detected noninvasively by surface sensors on the scalp, also known as an electroencephalogram (EEG). Sensors then mirror the real electrical oscillations produced by neurons in the brain on a computer monitor.
“This is the first study to show that key brain networks involved in mediating affect and cognition in PTSD can be volitionally modulated via neurofeedback, with measurable outcomes on subjective well-being,” said researchers Drs. Rosemarie Kluetsch and Tomas Ros.
The researchers used multiple imaging techniques, including EEG and functional MRI (fMRI) to capture the patients’ resting-state brain activity just before and after a 30-minute neurofeedback training session.
The investigators then searched for any differences in connectivity within well-known brain networks.
Interestingly, significant correlations were discovered between EEG and fMRI network activities as well as changes in self-reported calmness.
“This indicated that neurofeedback was able to directly modulate the brain bases of emotional processing in PTSD,” reported Kuetsch and Ros.
Senior author and principal investigator Dr. Ruth Lanius added, “The last decade of neuroscience research has offered a deeper understanding of the key brain networks involved in cognitive and emotional functions. Neurofeedback offers great promise as a type of brain training that is directly based on the functional activation of these brain networks.
“We are therefore thrilled to see the first evidence of this in action, along with significant changes in subjective well-being. Our hope and vision for the future is that this approach could improve and potentially augment PTSD treatment.”
Source: University of Western Ontario