National Film Board documentary: Drs. Vincent Paquette and Mario Beauregard measure EEG and fMRI to investigate meditation and spirituality with Nuns at the University of Montreal – Click here to view.

Each year, the Foundation for Neurofeedback and Applied Neuroscience presents an award – which includes an honorarium of one thousand dollars – to the authors of the publication that, in its consideration, has most significantly advanced the field of neurofeedback during the preceding year.

The winners of this year’s FNAN award for excellence in neurofeedback are a team of researchers consisting of Jimmy Ghaziri, Alan Tucholka, Vanessa Larue, Myriam Blanchette-Sylvestre, Gabrielle Reyburn, Guillame Gilbert, Johanne Lévesque and Mario Beauregard for their article “Neurofeedback Induces Changes in White and Gray Matter,” which appeared in the October, 2013 issue of the journal Clinical EEG and Neuroscience.

The purpose of their study was to investigate whether a neurofeedback training protocol designed to improve sustained attention might also induce structural changes in white matter and gray matter pathways in the regions of the brain being trained.

Three groups of students from the University of Montreal were recruited for the study. One group of twelve students received neurofeedback training designed to increase right brain beta activity (15 to 18 Hertz at locations F4 and P4, based on the 10/20 system). This experimental group received a total of 40 sessions of neurofeedback training at a rate of three sessions per week. A second group of twelve students received sham neurofeedback over the same period, while a third group of six students served as controls. Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) derived from magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) data was collected one week before the beginning of treatment and one week after the end of treatment.

At the end of the training period, the experimental group showed significant improvement in the full scale attention quotient scores of the Integrated Visual Auditory (IVA) continuous performance test, which measures both visual and auditory attention. More important, however, were DTI results showing increased fractional anisotropy in the white matter pathways involved in sustained attention, as well as increases in the gray matter cerebral structures involved in this type of attention, subsequent to training. Fractional anisotropy is often used as a measure of fiber density and white matter myelination.

The Foundation for Neurofeedback and Applied Neuroscience has been issuing its annual award for the most significant publication in the field since 2006. It’s interesting to note that the first such award went to a team from the University of Montreal that also included Mario Beauregard and Johanne Lévesque.

See: J. Ghaziri, A. Tucholka, V. Larue, M. Blanchette-Sylvestre, G. Reyburn, G. Gilbert, J. Lévesque and M. Beauregard, “Neurofeedback training Induces Changes in White and gray Matter,” Clinical EEG and Neurosciewnce, October 2013, Volume 44, Number 4, pages 265-272.

The Foundation for Neurofeedback and Applied Neuroscience (FNAN) is a nonprofit, tax-exempt corporation, based in California, dedicated to encouraging research into the mechanisms underlying neurofeedback and its clinical applications. It seeks to foster meaningful scientific research by providing technical assistance and other support to individuals seeking to extend the horizons of the field. FNAN awards its prize for the best neurofeedback article on an annual basis.

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