Self-regulation of Brain Activity by Novel Techniques in Real-time Functional Neuroimaging: Applications to Neuroscience Research and Clinical Treatment

Date(s) - 09/10/2012
11:45 am - 12:35 pm

Dr. Ranganatha Sitaram, Biomedical Engineering

Abstract: Brain-computer interfaces based on real-time functional neuroimaging methods, such as functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and near infrared spectrosopy (fNIRS),  allow volitional control of specific regions and spatio-temporal patterns of the brain. Technological advances in higher field MRI scanners and optical instruments, fast data acquisition sequences, preprocessing algorithms, and robust statistical analysis are anticipated to make fMRI and fNIRS BCIs more widely available and applicable. These noninvasive technique could potentially complement the traditional neuroscientific experimental methods by varying the activity of the neural substrates of a region of interest as an independent variable to study its effects on behavior. If the neurobiological basis of a disorder (e.g., chronic pain, motor diseases, psychopathy, social phobia, depression) is known in terms of abnormal activity in certain regions of the brain, fMRI-BCI can be targeted to modify activity in those regions with high specificity for treatment. In this seminar, I would give a brief impression of the methodological niceties, and application potential of such BCIs for neuroscientific research and psychophysiological treatment.