Neurologic disorders are characterized by abnormal cellular-, molecular-, and circuit-level functions in the brain. New methods to induce and control neuroplastic processes and correct abnormal function, or even shift functions from damaged tissue to physiologically healthy brain regions, hold the potential to dramatically improve overall health. Of the current neuroplastic interventions in development, neurofeedback training (NFT) from functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) has the advantages of being completely non-invasive, non-pharmacologic, and spatially localized to target brain regions, as well as having no known side effects. Furthermore, NFT techniques, initially developed using fMRI, can often be translated to exercises that can be performed outside of the scanner without the aid of medical professionals or sophisticated medical equipment. In fMRI NFT, the fMRI signal is measured from specific regions of the brain, processed, and presented to the participant in real-time. Through training, self-directed mental processing techniques, that regulate this signal and its underlying neurophysiologic correlates, are developed. FMRI NFT has been used to train volitional control over a wide range of brain regions with implications for several different cognitive, behavioral, and motor systems. Additionally, fMRI NFT has shown promise in a broad range of applications such as the treatment of neurologic disorders and the augmentation of baseline human performance. In this article, we present an fMRI NFT protocol developed at our institution for modulation of both healthy and abnormal brain function, as well as examples of using the method to target both cognitive and auditory regions of the brain.
Diller, E. E.,
Nelson, J. T.,
& Parker, J. G.
(2017). A Protocol for the Administration of Real-Time fMRI Neurofeedback Training. Journal of Visualized Experiments, 126.