Background and Objectives: Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is often a precursor of dementia, and in particular of Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) which is the most common cause of dementia. Individuals with amnestic MCI are several-fold more likely to develop AD than the general population. Therefore, MCI comprises a well-detectable, early stage time-point for therapeutic intervention and strategic prevention. Based on common electroencephalographical (EEG) pattern changes seen in individuals with MCI, we postulated that EEG-based neurofeedback could help improve the memory performance of patients with MCI. Memory performance is of particular importance in these patients, since memory decline is the most prominent symptom in most patients with MCI, and is the most predictive symptom for cognitive deterioration and the development of AD.
Methods: In order to improve the memory performance of patients with MCI we used a system of EEG-based neurofeedback in an attempt to reverse alterations of the EEG that are known to be common in patients with MCI. Our protocol comprised the provision of positive feedback in order to enhance the activity level of the upper alpha band. Participants were divided to two groups receiving either neurofeedback training to enhance the upper alpha frequency (Experimental group) or random feedbacks (Sham group)
Results: We witnessed a significant improvement in memory performance in subjects in the experimental group compared to those in the sham group. This improvement was maintained for at least 1 month.
Conclusions: Neurofeedback may be a promising and affordable novel approach for treating the decline in memory witnessed in patients with MCI.
Keywords: Alzheimer’s disease; EEG; alpha rhythm; memory; mild cognitive impairment; neurofeedback.
Lavy Y, Dwolatzky T, Kaplan Z, Guez J, Todder D. Mild Cognitive Impairment and Neurofeedback: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Front Aging Neurosci. 2021 Jun 14;13:657646. doi: 10.3389/fnagi.2021.657646. PMID: 34194315; PMCID: PMC8236892.