Scientists train brains to change, strength them in under one hour
In order to strengthen our brains, scientists have developed a new technique that changes brains in less than an hour only.
A new study conducted at D’Or Institute for Research and Education (IDOR) have concluded that less than one hour of brain training with neurofeedback (that uses real-time displays of brain activity to teach self-regulation of brain function) leads to strengthening of neural connections and communication among brain areas.
The authors believe that their study might pave way for the optimization and development of therapeutic approaches against diseases such as stroke and Parkinson’s. “We knew that the brain has an amazing ability to adapt itself, but we were not sure that we could observe these changes so quickly.
“Understanding of how we can impact on brain wiring and functioning is the key to treat neurological disorders,” said lead author Theo Marins.
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As per Science Daily, neurofeedback has been considered a promising way to regulate the dysfunctional brain areas that are linked to disorders like chronic pain and depression. Through this technique, the magnetic resonance equipment helps people to have access to their own brain activity in real time and quickly gain control over it.
The study included 36 healthy participants where the goal was to increase the activity of brain regions involved in hand movements, however, instead of actual hand movement, the volunteers were asked to only imagine moving in their hand.
19 participants received real brain training, while the remaining 17 were trained with placebo experience for comparison. The training lasted for 30 minutes and immediately before and after, the neural networks were scanned to analyze the impact of the technique on brain wiring and communication.
The results shows that the corpus callosum (primary cerebral bridge that connects the right and left hemispheres) showed inceased integrity and the neural network controlling the movement of the body became strengthened – the entire system became more robust. The training also had a positive impact on the default mode network (brain network which is impaired after stroke, Parkinson’s and depression). However, the control group did not show any of these changes.
“We showed that the neurofeedback can be considered a powerful tool to induce brain changes at record speed. Now, our goal is to develop new studies to test whether patients with neurological disorders can also benefit from it,” concluded team lead Fernanda Tovar Moll.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2019