Self-regulation of brain activity and its effect on cognitive function in patients with multiple sclerosis - First insights from an interventional study using neurofeedback.

Clin Neurophysiol 2019 Nov 7;130(11):2124-2131. Epub 2019 Sep 7.

University of Graz, Institute of Psychology, Graz, Austria; BioTechMed-Graz, Graz, Austria. Electronic address:

Objective: To investigate the effects of EEG-based neurofeedback training, in which one can learn to self-regulate one's own brain activity, on cognitive function in patients with multiple sclerosis (pwMS).

Methods: Fourteen pwMS performed ten neurofeedback training sessions within 3-4 weeks at home using a tele-rehabilitation system. The aim of the neurofeedback training was to increase voluntarily the sensorimotor rhythm (SMR, 12-15 Hz) in the EEG over central brain areas by receiving visual real-time feedback thereof. Cognitive function was assessed before and after all neurofeedback training sessions using a comprehensive standardized neuropsychological test battery.

Results: Half of the pwMS (N = 7) showed cognitive improvements in long-term memory and executive functions after neurofeedback training. These patients successfully learned to self-regulate their own brain activity by means of neurofeedback training. The other half of pwMS (N = 7) did neither show any cognitive changes when comparing the pre- and post-assessment nor were they able to modulate their own brain activity in the desired direction during neurofeedback training.

Conclusions: Data from this interventional study provide first preliminary evidence that successful self-regulation of one's own brain activity may be associated with cognitive improvements in pwMS.

Significance: These promising results should stimulate further studies. Neurofeedback might be a promising and alternative tool for future cognitive rehabilitation.

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Source
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.clinph.2019.08.025DOI Listing
November 2019

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