Event Abstract

Neurofeedback in healthy elderly humans with electroencephalographic risk of cognitive impairment

  • 1 Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Mexico
  • 2 Universidad Autónoma de Querétaro, Mexico
  • 3 Centro Comunitario de Salud Mental, Mexico
  • 4 Centro de Neurociencias de Cuba, Cuba

NFB is an operant conditioning procedure, whereby an individual can learn to modify the electrical activity of his or her own brain. Between 30 and 65% of the normal elderly subjects who have memory loss complain (GDS=2) develop a mild cognitive impairment (MCI) or dementia in some years. Prichep et al. (2006) showed that the best EEG predictor of this fact is an abnormally higher value of theta EEG activity for their age. The goal of this work was to explore the effectiveness of a Neurofeedback (NFB) protocol, consistent in to reinforce theta EEG activity reduction, in normal elderly subject who present an excess of theta Absolute Power (AP) in their EEG. Twenty-eight normal elderly (more than 60 years old) subjects were studied. Inclusion criteria: normal WAIS-III, normal blood pressure, normal cholesterol levels, normal thyroid profile, and normal hearing. Exclusion criteria: neurological or psychiatric abnormalities. Fourteen normal elderly subjects were selected and they were randomly assigned to one of two groups: to one (Experimental Group) a positive reward (a tone of 500 Hz) was given when the value of theta was reduced, to another one (Control Group) a placebo (the same tone randomly administered) was given. NFB training consisted of 30 sessions of 30 minutes each. Before and after NFB treatment, EEG was recorded in the 19 leads of the 10/20 International System referred to short-circuited earlobes, and WAIS-III and NEUROPSI tests were applied. No changes in behavior or EEG AP were observed in the Control Group. In the Experimental Group the principal behavioral change was an increase in the verbal comprehension. Changes in EEG were also observed: alpha and beta AP values increased in leads of the left hemisphere; these changes can explain the verbal improvement. The results suggest that NFB may be useful for the treatment of elderly people with electroencephalographic risk of cognitive impairment; however, a follow-up study is necessary to obtain stronger conclusions. Supported by grant IN216707 from PAPIIT.

Conference: 10th International Conference on Cognitive Neuroscience, Bodrum, Turkey, 1 Sep - 5 Sep, 2008.

Presentation Type: Poster Presentation

Topic: Cognitive Aging

Citation: Fernández T, Becerra J, Roca M, Espino M, Bahlke M, Harmony T, Fernández-Bouza A, Belmont H and Díaz-Comas L (2008). Neurofeedback in healthy elderly humans with electroencephalographic risk of cognitive impairment. Conference Abstract: 10th International Conference on Cognitive Neuroscience. doi: 10.3389/conf.neuro.09.2009.01.173

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Received: 08 Dec 2008; Published Online: 08 Dec 2008.

* Correspondence: Thalia Fernández, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Campus Juriquilla, Mexico, thalia@servidor.unam.mx

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