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  Activity or connectivity? A randomized controlled feasibility study evaluating neurofeedback training in Huntington's disease

Papoutsi, M., Magerkurth, J., Josephs, O., Pépés, S. E., Ibitoye, T., Reilmann, R., et al. (2020). Activity or connectivity? A randomized controlled feasibility study evaluating neurofeedback training in Huntington's disease. Brain Communications, 2(1): fcaa049. doi:10.1093/braincomms/fcaa049.

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Papoutsi, Marina1, Author
Magerkurth, Joerg2, Author
Josephs, Oliver3, Author
Pépés, Sophia E.4, Author
Ibitoye, Temi1, Author
Reilmann, Ralf5, 6, 7, Author
Hunt, Nigel8, Author
Payne, Edwin8, Author
Weiskopf, Nikolaus3, 9, Author           
Langbehn, Douglas10, Author
Rees, Geraint3, 11, Author
Tabrizi, Sarah J.1, 12, Author
1Huntington’s Disease Centre, UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology, University College London, United Kingdom, ou_persistent22              
2Birkbeck-UCL Centre for Neuroimaging, London, United Kingdom, ou_persistent22              
3Wellcome Trust Centre for Neuroimaging, Institute of Neurology, University College London, United Kingdom, ou_persistent22              
4University of Oxford, United Kingdom, ou_persistent22              
5George Huntington Institute, Münster, Germany, ou_persistent22              
6Department of Clinical Radiology, Münster University, Germany, ou_persistent22              
7Hertie-Institute for Clinical Brain Research, Eberhard Karls University Tübingen, Germany, ou_persistent22              
8Eastman Dental Institute, University College London, United Kingdom, ou_persistent22              
9Department Neurophysics (Weiskopf), MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society, ou_2205649              
10Carver College of Medicine, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA, USA, ou_persistent22              
11Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, University College London, United Kingdom, ou_persistent22              
12Dementia Research Centre, Department of Neurodegenerative Disease, Institute of Neurology, University College London, United Kingdom, ou_persistent22              


Free keywords: Neurofeedback training; Neuroplasticity; Huntington’s disease; Real-time fMRI
 Abstract: Non-invasive methods, such as neurofeedback training, could support cognitive symptom management in Huntington’s disease by targeting brain regions whose function is impaired. The aim of our single-blind, sham-controlled study was to collect rigorous evidence regarding the feasibility of neurofeedback training in Huntington’s disease by examining two different methods, activity and connectivity real-time functional MRI neurofeedback training. Thirty-two Huntington’s disease gene-carriers completed 16 runs of neurofeedback training, using an optimized real-time functional MRI protocol. Participants were randomized into four groups, two treatment groups, one receiving neurofeedback derived from the activity of the supplementary motor area, and another receiving neurofeedback based on the correlation of supplementary motor area and left striatum activity (connectivity neurofeedback training), and two sham control groups, matched to each of the treatment groups. We examined differences between the groups during neurofeedback training sessions and after training at follow-up sessions. Transfer of training was measured by measuring the participants’ ability to upregulate neurofeedback training target levels without feedback (near transfer), as well as by examining change in objective, a priori defined, behavioural measures of cognitive and psychomotor function (far transfer) before and at 2 months after training. We found that the treatment group had significantly higher neurofeedback training target levels during the training sessions compared to the control group. However, we did not find robust evidence of better transfer in the treatment group compared to controls, or a difference between the two neurofeedback training methods. We also did not find evidence in support of a relationship between change in cognitive and psychomotor function and learning success. We conclude that although there is evidence that neurofeedback training can be used to guide participants to regulate the activity and connectivity of specific regions in the brain, evidence regarding transfer of learning and clinical benefit was not robust.


Language(s): eng - English
 Dates: 2020-04-23
 Publication Status: Published online
 Pages: -
 Publishing info: -
 Table of Contents: -
 Rev. Type: -
 Identifiers: DOI: 10.1093/braincomms/fcaa049
 Degree: -



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Grant ID : MR-L012936-1
Funding program : -
Funding organization : Medical Research Council

Source 1

Title: Brain Communications
Source Genre: Journal
Publ. Info: Oxford : Oxford University Press
Pages: - Volume / Issue: 2 (1) Sequence Number: fcaa049 Start / End Page: - Identifier: ISSN: 2632-1297
CoNE: https://pure.mpg.de/cone/journals/resource/2632-1297