The main discovery of a new study conducted at D’Or Institute of Research and Education (IDOR) indicated that brain training with neurofeedback in less than one hour leads to the strengthening of neural connections and communication among brain areas. The author of the study claimed that the research would open the door, for instance, the development and optimization of therapeutic approaches against stroke and Parkinson’s.
The Ph.D. responsible for the study and the biomedical scientist from IDOR, Theo Marins stated that they understood that the brain has a fantastic potential to adapt itself, but they were not sure that they could observe these changes so quickly. The key to treat neurological disorder is when they understand how they can impact on brain wiring and functioning.
There has been a strong consideration that neurofeedback is a promising way to regulate dysfunctional brain areas connected with disorders like depression and chronic pain. Using this technique, the equipment of the magnetic resonance helps people to have access to their brain activity in real time and efficiently gain control over it.
In the study, there was the participation of thirty-six healthy subjects where the goal was to increase the brain activity regions involved in hand movement. Instead of moving their hand, however, they asked the participants to only imagine the action, in total rest.
Subjects that received the real brain training were nineteen, and they placed the remaining seventeen participants with placebo neurofeedback, for comparison. Immediately before and after the brain training that lasted for about 30 minutes, they scanned the neural networks of the participants to investigate the impact of the neurofeedback, or placebo, on brain communication and wiring, otherwise referred to as functional and structural connectivity.
The outcomes of the study reveal that the critical cerebral bridge that links the right and left hemisphere – the corpus callosum – demonstrated increased integrity. Also, the neural network controlling the movements of the body became strengthened, and the entire system becomes more robust.
Similarly, there was a positive impact from the training on the default mode network, a brain network which is impaired after the depression, stroke, and Parkinson’s. The study did not observe these changes in the control group.
President of IDOR and the leader of the study, Fernanda Tovar Moll, concluded that they revealed that the neurofeedback could be considered a powerful tool to induce brain changes at record speed. At present, their goal is to develop new studies to test whether patients with neurological disorders can also benefit from it.
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