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Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging Investigation of the Effects of Neurofeedback Training on the Neural Bases of Selective Attention and Response Inhibition in Children with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder

Two functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) experiments were undertaken to measure the effect of neurofeedback training (NFT), in AD/HD children, on the neural substrates of selective attention and response inhibition. Twenty unmedicated AD/HD children participated to these experiments. Fifteen children were randomly assigned to the Experimental (EXP) group whereas the other five children were randomly assigned to the Control (CON) group. Only subjects in the EXP group underwent NFT. EXP subjects were trained to enhance the amplitude of the SMR (12–15 Hz) and beta 1 activity (15–18 Hz), and decrease the amplitude of theta activity (4–7 Hz). Subjects from both groups were scanned one week before the beginning of NFT (Time 1) and 1 week after the end of NFT (Time 2), while they performed a “Counting Stroop” task (Experiment 1) and a Go/No-Go task (Experiment 2). At Time 1, in both groups, the Counting Stroop task was associated with significant activation in the left superior parietal lobule. For the Go/No-Go task, no significant activity was detected in the EXP and CON groups. At Time 2, in both groups, the Counting Stroop task was associated with significant activation of the left superior parietal lobule. This time, however, there were significant loci of activation, in the EXP group, in the right ACC, left caudate nucleus, and left substantia nigra. No such activation loci were seen in CON subjects. For the Go/No-Go task, significant loci of activation were noted, in the EXP group, in the right ventrolateral prefrontal cortex, right ACcd, left thalamus, left caudate nucleus, and left substantia nigra. No significant activation of these brain regions was measured in CON subjects. These results suggest that NFT has the capacity to functionally normalize the brain systems mediating selective attention and response inhibition in AD/HD children.

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ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

This work was supported by grants from the Fondation Lucie et André Chagnon and the International Society for Neuronal Regulation (ISNR). We would like to acknowledge Dr. Isabelle Fortier and her team (Hôpital Ste-Justine) for the recruitment and cognitive evaluation of the participants, as well as Dr. Phillipe Robaey, the child psychiatrist who diagnosed the participants (Hôpital Ste-Justine). We also thank Mélanie Veilleux and the staff of the Département de radiologie, CHUM, Hôpital Notre-Dame, for their proficient technical assistance.

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Beauregard, M., Lévesque, J. Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging Investigation of the Effects of Neurofeedback Training on the Neural Bases of Selective Attention and Response Inhibition in Children with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. Appl Psychophysiol Biofeedback 31, 3–20 (2006). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10484-006-9001-y

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KEY WORDS:

  • selective attention
  • response inhibition
  • AD/HD children
  • neurofeedback
  • functional magnetic resonance imaging
  • prefrontal cortex
  • anterior cingulate
  • striatum