A computational paradigm for real-time MEG neurofeedback for dynamic allocation of spatial attention
Rana, Kunjan D.
Hämäläinen, Matti S.
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Citation (published version)Kunjan D Rana, Sheraz Khan, Matti S Hämäläinen, Lucia Vaina. 2020. "A computational paradigm for real-time MEG neurofeedback for dynamic allocation of spatial attention." BioMedical Engineering OnLine, Volume 19, Issue 1, 45 p. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12938-020-00787-y
BACKGROUND: Neurofeedback aids volitional control of one's own brain activity using non-invasive recordings of brain activity. The applications of neurofeedback include improvement of cognitive performance and treatment of various psychiatric and neurological disorders. During real-time magnetoencephalography (rt-MEG), sensor-level or source-localized brain activity is measured and transformed into a visual feedback cue to the subject. Recent real-time fMRI (rt-fMRI) neurofeedback studies have used pattern recognition techniques to decode and train a brain state to link brain activities and cognitive behaviors. Here, we utilize the real-time decoding technique similar to ones employed in rt-fMRI to analyze time-varying rt-MEG signals. RESULTS: We developed a novel rt-MEG method, state-based neurofeedback (sb-NFB), to decode a time-varying brain state, a state signal, from which timings are extracted for neurofeedback training. The approach is entirely data-driven: it uses sensor-level oscillatory activity to find relevant features that best separate the targeted brain states. In a psychophysical task of spatial attention switching, we trained five young, healthy subjects using the sb-NFB method to decrease the time necessary for switch spatial attention from one visual hemifield to the other (referred to as switch time). Training resulted in a decrease in switch time with training. We saw that the activity targeted by the training involved proportional changes in alpha and beta-band oscillations, in sensors at the occipital and parietal regions. We also found that the state signal that encodes whether subjects attend to the left or right visual field effectively switches consistently with the task. CONCLUSION: We demonstrated the use of the sb-NFB method when the subject learns to increase the speed of shifting covert spatial attention from one visual field to the other. The sb-NFB method can target timing features that would otherwise also include extraneous features such as visual detection and motor response in a simple reaction time task.
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