Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) has been identified as an early phase of Alzheimer's disease (AD), a neurodegenerative disorder expected to affect 13.9 million Americans by 2060. AD causes a progressive cognitive decline, including problems related to learning and memory, that adversely affects life quality. Treatment intervention at the MCI stage of the disease could potentially slow down the rate at which people may convert from MCI to AD. Increasing evidence suggests that abnormal activity in frontal regions of the brain is associated with cognitive deficits observed in AD. Furthermore, previous research has shown that neurofeedback (NFB) training targeting these regions can improve memory, making it a potential treatment for AD. NFB is a technique where an individual learns to change his/her brain function in a particular direction, once that function has been made accessible through a visual or auditory metaphor. We are proposing a novel, computer-based brain-training program to enhance frontal gamma oscillatory activity in individuals with MCI. Results from this study will build the scientific foundation necessary for larger clinical trials dedicated to improving treatment options and outcomes for patients with MCI.
Enhancing Gamma Band Response in Mild Cognitive Impairment to Improve Working Memory
This is a randomized, double-blind, clinical trial to test the efficacy of gamma-neurofeedback (G-NFB) compared to a placebo (P-NFB) in individuals with MCI. 112 consented participants will be randomized to receive G-NFB (n=56) or placebo-NFB (n=56) during 30-45 minute sessions twice per week for 12 weeks (24 total sessions). Memory and other cognitive domains will be measured using paper and pencil and computerized tests every 4 weeks during the study and at 4 weeks post completion of study.