Advances in neuroimaging have led to a better knowledge of both mental dysfunction and potential compensatory mechanisms in patients. Major nodes of disordered neural networks are in deep regions of the brain, which makes them difficult to access by electroencephalography or transcranial stimulation. Neuroimaging techniques are therefore essential for the development of non-invasive neuromodulation techniques for mental and behavioural disorders.
Real-time functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) uses magnetic resonance imaging to measure brain activity, by detecting associated changes in blood flow which increases with neuronal activation.
fMRI can be used for on-line-monitoring of brain function as well as for self-modulation of neural processes via interactive training. With the neurofeedback procedure, patients learn control over brain activity using real-time signals from their own brain.
Through the development of fMRI-based neurofeedback techniques over the last decade, it is now possible to train patients in the self-regulation of the disordered networks and thus to obtain clinical benefits: improve diagnosis, restore function, alleviate symptoms and promote resilience.
Huge clinical needs for mechanism-driven therapies in psychiatry and clinical psychology
Neuroimaging techniques can be transferred in the diagnostic, therapeutic and preventive domains for the many psychiatric and neurological disorders.