Infrared Imaging and Neurofeedback: Initial Reliability and Validity

Robert Coben, Ilean Padolsky


Introduction. The neurological correlates underlying positive treatment outcomes for neurofeedback have been either unavailable or difficult to demonstrate. Assessment of brain-related changes associated with neurofeedback is needed to further establish its empirical basis. Infrared (IR) imaging is a noninvasive assessment of brain activity with high spatial and temporal resolution. Method. Study 1, a reliability study, assessed the test-retest stability of IR imaging. In Validity Study 2 and 3, IR imaging assessed brain-related changes prior to and following neurofeedback and passive infrared hemoencephalography (pir HEG) training, respectively. Results. In Study 1, high correlations occurred in pre-post comparisons for IR measures unrelated to treatment. Lower correlation between measures of IR imaging indicated changes in brain activation associated with thermoregulation following neurofeedback training. In Study 2, changes in thermal regulation occurred both within and across sessions. The change in metabolic regulation was enduring and associated with a reduction in core Autistic Spectrum Disorder symptomatology and improved cerebral connectivity. In Study 3, a significant percentage of patients with Traumatic Brain Injury increased thermal readings following pir HEG training and the change in thermal readings was associated with EEG connectivity. Conclusion. Findings indicated that IR imaging may be a reliable and valid measure of treatment outcomes with clinical utility and sensitivity.

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