Hemoencephalography self-regulation training and its impact on cognition: A study with schizophrenia and healthy participants

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Gomes, July Silveira [UNIFESP]
Ducos, Daniella Valverde [UNIFESP]
Gadelha, Ary [UNIFESP]
Ortiz, Bruno Bertolucci [UNIFESP]
Van Deusen, Adrian Machado
Akiba, Henrique Teruo [UNIFESP]
Guimaraes, L. S. P.
Cordeiro, Quirino [UNIFESP]
Trevizol, Alisson Paulino [UNIFESP]
Lacerda, Acioly Luiz Tavares de [UNIFESP]
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Background: Cognitive impairments in schizophrenia are strongly correlated to functional outcome and recovery rates, with no pharmacological agent approved for its treatment. Neurofeedback has emerged as a non-pharmacological approach to enhance neuroplasticity, which consists in inducing voluntary control of brain responses through operant conditioning. Method: The effects of hemoencephalography neurofeedback (HEG-NFBK) in 4 brain sites (F7, Fp1, Fp2 and F8) was studied in 8 patients with schizophrenia (SCH, mean age 36.5 +/- 9.98) and 12 health controls (mean age 32.17 +/- 5.6). We analyzed groups' performance (10 sessions) and cognitive differences in 3 time points (baseline, after training and follow-up) with generalized estimated equations. For SCH we also evaluate the impact on psychopathology. Results: We found a group * time interaction for HEG-NFBK performance in the left hemisphere sites (F7 an Fp1) and a near-to-significant in the right frontotemporal region (F8), with no group differences and a significant time effect. Most of cognitive domains improved after intervention, including information processing speed, attention processing, working memory, executive functioning, verbal and visual learning. No group * time interaction was found. Results suggest that both groups benefit from HEG-NFBK training regardless of cognitive differences at baseline. No significant time effects were found for Calgary and PANSS total scale and subscales (positive, negative neither general). Conclusion: To our knowledge, this is the first controlled trial showing effects of NFBK on cognitive performance improvement in schizophrenia. Further research investigating the effects of HEG-NFBK training in schizophrenia should be performed. (C) 2017 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Schizophrenia Research. Amsterdam, v. 195, p. 591-593, 2018.