Magnetoencephalography (MEG) Neurofeedback for Rehabilitation

We aim to develop a neurofeedback paradigm based on the mirror neuron system that influences the function of neurons in the brain and spinal cord thus promoting neuroplasticity and facilitating the recovery of function. We will measure cortical activation during observed, imagined, imitated, and overt upper limb movements in individuals with tetraplegia and an unimpaired control group. This baseline evaluation allows us to compare cortical activation during simple movement tasks between individuals with tetraplegia and in a group of able-bodied subjects.

We will identify areas of the brain responsible for intended movement, even though the efferent corticospinal pathways may be damaged. Through a non-invasive MEG-based neurofeedback training paradigm, we will connect intact cortical areas to a virtual limb. Participants will learn to enhance modulation of cortical activity through real-time training. By directly targeting neuronal activity, we aim to facilitate neuroplasticity measured as increased cortical activity amplitude and voluntary control over cortical modulation.

We believe that this neurofeedback training paradigm can be used to strengthen corticospinal pathways to the impaired upper limb and possibly with long term training improve function (increased strength) in muscles with partially intact corticospinal pathways.

This project is funded by the VA Rehabilitation Research and Development Service.