MAR 14, 2018 12:00 PM PDT

The self-tuning brain: normalizing brain oscillations with neurofeedback

Presented At Neuroscience 2018
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  • Researcher, Department of Fundamental Neurosciences, University of Geneva
      During his PhD at University of London, Tomas used transcranial magnetic stimulation to probe for the plastic effects of neurofeedback, showing for the first time cortical excitability changes directly after a training session. During his postdoc at University of Western Ontario, he uncovered that alpha-desynchronizing neurofeedback leads to correlated reductions in mind-wandering. This led to the first translational study investigating this protocol's impact on patients with PTSD, revealing a positive effect on well-being and a plastic modulation of key brain networks. Currently at the University of Geneva, Tomas is investigating the impact of neurofeedback on neurological and psychiatric disorders within the framework of critical brain dynamics.


    Using Hebbian as well as homeostatic models of brain plasticity, the effects of neurofeedback (NFB) are examined from the theoretical perspective of EEG normalization. Within this framework, hyper- and hypo-synchronous oscillations characteristic of abnormal brain dynamics are reversed with NFB training, as seen in several brain disorders including attention-deficit hyperactivity (ADHD) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The central thesis put forward is that NFB re-tunes pathological oscillations toward intermediate levels of coupling, which may support self-organized criticality and provide an optimal balance between network flexibility/stability.

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