Neurofeedback Targeting Brodmann Areas: Training Networks

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Revised Brodmann map by Mark Dow

The revised Brodmann map shown above was contributed by Mark Dow, Research Assistant at the Brain Development Lab, the University of Oregon, to Wikimedia Commons. Introduction Neurofeedback is evolving from training activity at single discrete scalp sites to modifying communication within networks. Quantitative EEG (qEEG) normative databases can reveal the key parts of a network that need training and the required direction. A Paradigm Shift With neurofeedback, we want to know where to place active electrodes and what brain activity to train. It's normal to think that the sensor should go over the part of the brain that needs to be up-trained or down-trained. That may work for some conditions that respond to single-channel training. But, one site is connected to another site, and so on, in networks. A network is a system of interconnected ensembles of neurons that collaborate to achieve a goal. Hodology is the study of pathways.

The original Brodmann areas consisted of 47 numbered cytoarchitectural zones of the cerebral cortex based on Nissl staining. Brodmann areas play an important role in neurofeedback because they help us target networks instead of discrete, disconnected scalp sites. Neuroscience reveals how Brodmann areas connect with nerve fiber pathways and how different networks can become active or quiet together during diverse conditions. For example, attention to where something is activates locations in four main areas that make up the dorsal attention network shown in blue.

Dorsal and ventral attention networks

Psychological disorders can be associated with shifts from normal activity in particular brain areas and their connections. For example, the figure below illustrates networks related to unipolar depression.

networks involved in psychological disorders

Current neurofeedback protocols allow us to train networks involved in cognitive functions like attention or psychological disorders like depression using multiple electrodes simultaneously. Connectivity training enables us to increase or decrease communication between brain locations to treat symptoms and improve performance. Quantitative EEG (qEEG) normative databases can reveal the key parts of a network that need training and the required direction. Summary Neurofeedback training increasingly monitors and trains network activity using qEEG normative databases. Neurofeedback professionals must thoroughly understand Brodmann areas and the networks in which they participate to employ these protocols effectively. Reference Catani, M., & Thiebault de Schotten, M. (2012). Atlas of human brain connections. Oxford University Press. Related BioSource Products

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