Japanese scientists have found a way to strengthen and weaken neural connections in the human brain, thereby giving hope for the treatment of many mental disorders. It is reported Bi-bi-si.

The study was published August 7 in peer-reviewed scientific journal Cerebral Cortex.

A team of scientists from the International research Institute of telecommunications (Advanced Telecommunications Research Institute International) in Kyoto, which conducted the study, set out to prove that they have developed even in 2015, the method of Functional connectivity neurofeedback training (FCNT) can both enhance, and weaken the functional relationship in the brain and affect cognitive abilities. Neurofeedback is used in the treatment including mental disorders.

Neurofeedback is a special case of biological feedback (biofeedback), which involves the analysis of a condition of physiological processes in the human body. Accordingly, neurofeedback (i.e., neurobiological feedback) displays the status and changes of processes in the brain, gives information about its rhythms, the amplitude of the waves and their orderliness that helps therapy.

Existing training based on neurofeedback, which used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). They are of three types, explained one of the study’s authors Hiroshi Imamizu: one examines the activity in a certain region of the brain to enhance or reduce its activity, the second is working with the perception of information of a specific area of the brain; the third, FCNT, is directed to the connection between the two areas of the brain.

Method FCNT gives hope that soon there will be a more effective way to treat mental illnesses than those that exist today. The fact is that medication and cognitive-behavioral psychotherapy, which is now used in the treatment of mental disorders affect the brain as a whole and not to any particular it area that failed.

Participants in the experiment, scientists have divided into two groups: one goal was to strengthen the link between two specific areas of the brain, the other – on the contrary, to weaken. Each member held a specific training for four days. The results showed significant changes in functional connectivity within the brain.

The training consisted in the following: first 14 seconds of people looking at the “=” sign on the screen, then “=” followed ” + ” sign. When this occurred, the person had for another 14 seconds to think that knocking on the thumb other fingers (and as much as possible). If this move really was impossible, and to imagine the movement of the fingers should not visually, but kinesthetically (i.e., to imagine the corresponding sensation in the muscles of the hand).

The brain was swiped with functional magnetic resonance imaging of rest (fmrp). Participants spoke, the better they perform the task, the greater will become the green circle on the screen that showed the participants after the assignment. Its size depended on the correlation of signals in the parts of the brain. The aim was to make this green drive as much as possible, and in line with their success they were given a cash reward.

In fact, the size of the green disk in two groups depended on different indicators. The weaker was the relationship between selected brain regions in the group, where scientists had intended to reduce this relationship, the more it became a green circle. In the other group, which they wanted to strengthen communication in the brain, the disk has increased with the way she grew up.

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To understand influence whether training on the cognitive abilities of the participants, they were asked to go through various tasks before and after training to compare scores. One test determined the ability to concentrate (on the vigilance task), the other is not to pay attention to irrelevant subjects (so-called flanking problem), and the third was of the Stroop test, which also determined a person’s ability to focus. Results study participants in a number of cases have shown improvement in cognitive function.

Read also: How sleep deprivation affects the brain: the largest study

Scientists have found a new way to treat mental disorders 10.08.2017

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