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Using real-time fMRI neurofeedback to restore right occipital cortex activity in patients with left visuo-spatial neglect: proof-of-principle and preliminary results


Robineau, Fabien; Saj, Arnaud; Neveu, Rémi; Van De Ville, Dimitri; Scharnowski, Frank; Vuilleumier, Patrik (2017). Using real-time fMRI neurofeedback to restore right occipital cortex activity in patients with left visuo-spatial neglect: proof-of-principle and preliminary results. Neuropsychological Rehabilitation:1-22.

Abstract

Hemineglect is common after right parietal stroke, characterised by impaired awareness for stimuli in left visual space, with suppressed neural activity in the right visual cortex due to losses in top-down attention signals. Here we sought to assess whether hemineglect patients are able to up-regulate their right visual cortex activity using auditory real-time functional magnetic resonance imaging (rt-fMRI) neurofeedback. We also examined any effect of this training procedure on neglect severity. Two different neurofeedback methods were used. A first group of six patients was trained to up-regulate their right visual cortex activity and a second group of three patients was trained to control interhemispheric balance between their right and left visual cortices. Over three sessions, we found that the first group successfully learned to control visual cortex activity and showed mild reduction in neglect severity, whereas the second group failed to control the feedback and showed no benefit. Whole brain analysis further indicated that successful up-regulation was associated with a recruitment of bilateral fronto-parietal areas. These findings provide a proof of concept that rt-fMRI neurofeedback may offer a new approach to the rehabilitation of hemineglect symptoms, but further studies are needed to identify effective regulation protocols and determine any reliable impact on clinical symptoms.

Abstract

Hemineglect is common after right parietal stroke, characterised by impaired awareness for stimuli in left visual space, with suppressed neural activity in the right visual cortex due to losses in top-down attention signals. Here we sought to assess whether hemineglect patients are able to up-regulate their right visual cortex activity using auditory real-time functional magnetic resonance imaging (rt-fMRI) neurofeedback. We also examined any effect of this training procedure on neglect severity. Two different neurofeedback methods were used. A first group of six patients was trained to up-regulate their right visual cortex activity and a second group of three patients was trained to control interhemispheric balance between their right and left visual cortices. Over three sessions, we found that the first group successfully learned to control visual cortex activity and showed mild reduction in neglect severity, whereas the second group failed to control the feedback and showed no benefit. Whole brain analysis further indicated that successful up-regulation was associated with a recruitment of bilateral fronto-parietal areas. These findings provide a proof of concept that rt-fMRI neurofeedback may offer a new approach to the rehabilitation of hemineglect symptoms, but further studies are needed to identify effective regulation protocols and determine any reliable impact on clinical symptoms.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Psychiatric University Hospital Zurich > Clinic for Psychiatry, Psychotherapy, and Psychosomatics
04 Faculty of Medicine > Neuroscience Center Zurich
04 Faculty of Medicine > Center for Integrative Human Physiology
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
610 Medicine & health
Language:English
Date:6 April 2017
Deposited On:25 Sep 2017 17:36
Last Modified:25 Sep 2017 17:36
Publisher:Taylor & Francis
ISSN:0960-2011
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1080/09602011.2017.1301262
PubMed ID:28385053

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