Developed by Brazilian researchers, training is able to change neuroplasticity and improve the brain’s functional connectivity

0A relatively simple one-hour training is able to change certain brain behavior patterns and may even condition the brain to cure neurological or mental-like diseases. This is the conclusion of a study developed by Brazilian neuroscientists at UFRJ (Federal University of Rio de Janeiro), published in the scientific journal Neuroimage.

According to the research, the technique developed may revert symptoms and sequelae resulting from cerebro-vascular accident (CVA) and Parkinson’s disease and even depression.

The study had 36 healthy volunteers who underwent the training using neurofeedback technique. From this total, 19 individuals were given real treatment and the remaining 17 were given placebo treatment. The researchers monitored, with magnetic resonance imaging devices, brain images before and after the training: the tool allows monitoring communication and connections between brain regions.

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Hence, researchers discovered that the functional communication between these regions increased and that the corpus callosum (“main brain bridge, responsible for the communication between sensing and motor regions in the right and left hemispheres,” according to the official statement released by the team in charge) showed better structural robustness. In other words: the system became stronger.

“We know that the brain has incredible modification ability, but we weren’t sure that we could see that so fast,” said Theo Marins, biomedical scientist and doctoral candidate in charge of this study, in a statement.

How does neurofeedback work?

The key concept to develop this technique is neuroplasticity, that means the condition of the brain to adapt to new stimuli at all times – and, therefore, it may change how it creates connections, establishes patterns and behaviors and changes learning and memory basis.

The neurofeedback tool converts the neural activity captured by the magnetic resonance imaging equipment and converts into images. On the screen, researchers monitor movements, as a thermometer, in real time.

As the training (which relies on a series of motor image tasks with no evident movement) advances, neuroscientists may observe the neuroplasticity in each individual – those given real training increased their functional connectivity, no advance was seen in the group given mock training.

“The next step is to find out if patients experiencing neurological disorders can benefit from neurofeedback, and if it can reduce the symptoms of these diseases,” radiologist Fernanda Tovar Moll, president of IDOR and research leader said in a statement.

Content published in May 10, 2019

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