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Prof. dr. Rainer Goebel

Detail Summary
Date 23 February 2011
Time 15:00 - 16:00

Prof. dr. Rainer Goebel
Maastricht Brain Imaging Centre, Maastricht University

Real-time fMRI allows to perform neurofeedback studies that have the potential to provide new therapeutic tools. As an example, we show that patients suffering from mood disorders (depression) are able to improve their situation substantially by running a series of neurofeedback training sessions. Real-time fMRI can also be used as the basis for brain computer interface (BCI) applications. We present recent work that investigated whether participants are able to communicate solely on the basis of voluntary control of the fMRI (BOLD) signal. Using a guided display technique, we show that subjects can learn in less than half an hour to produce reliably any letter of the alphabet in a single trial. To achieve this performance, subjects use three mental strategies to modulate spatio-temporal properties of the fMRI signal in three different brain areas. While the transmitted information (BOLD time courses from regions-of-interest) has been initially decoded offline by human raters, we have recently implemented a fully automatized real-time "brain reading" technique. The developed robust communication BCI may serve patients with impaired motor functions that can result from several medical conditions (e.g., brain injury, stroke, progressive neurological diseases). In order to allow patients to use the developed communication tool at the bedside, we currently transfer our approach to functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS).

The CSCA lecture is followed by informal drinks. Registration for the lecture is not necessary.