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Front Behav Neurosci. 2014 Sep 24;8:338. doi: 10.3389/fnbeh.2014.00338. eCollection 2014.

Resting state functional connectivity predicts neurofeedback response.

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Magnetic Resonance Research Center (MRRC), Department of Diagnostic Radiology, Yale School of Medicine New Haven, CT, USA.
Department of Psychiatry, Yale School of Medicine New Haven, CT, USA.
Department of Psychiatry, Yale School of Medicine New Haven, CT, USA ; Department of Psychology, Yale University New Haven, CT, USA ; Child Study Center, Yale School of Medicine New Haven, CT, USA.


Tailoring treatments to the specific needs and biology of individual patients-personalized medicine-requires delineation of reliable predictors of response. Unfortunately, these have been slow to emerge, especially in neuropsychiatric disorders. We have recently described a real-time functional magnetic resonance imaging (rt-fMRI) neurofeedback protocol that can reduce contamination-related anxiety, a prominent symptom of many cases of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Individual response to this intervention is variable. Here we used patterns of brain functional connectivity, as measured by baseline resting-state fMRI (rs-fMRI), to predict improvements in contamination anxiety after neurofeedback training. Activity of a region of the orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) and anterior prefrontal cortex, Brodmann area (BA) 10, associated with contamination anxiety in each subject was measured in real time and presented as a neurofeedback signal, permitting subjects to learn to modulate this target brain region. We have previously reported both enhanced OFC/BA 10 control and improved anxiety in a group of subclinically anxious subjects after neurofeedback. Five individuals with contamination-related OCD who underwent the same protocol also showed improved clinical symptomatology. In both groups, these behavioral improvements were strongly correlated with baseline whole-brain connectivity in the OFC/BA 10, computed from rs-fMRI collected several days prior to neurofeedback training. These pilot data suggest that rs-fMRI can be used to identify individuals likely to benefit from rt-fMRI neurofeedback training to control contamination anxiety.


neurofeedback; obsessive-compulsive disorder; orbitofrontal cortex; real-time fMRI; resting state connectivity

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