The present focus is the use of real-time fMRI neurofeedback to treat and study mental illness. We use this form of neurofeedback to train patients to control a specific aspect of their brain function. For example, we train patients with PTSD to control activity in their amygdala in a trauma recall context. After training, we examine whether they can better control the targeted aspects of brain function (i.e., the amygdala activity) and whether the training has rewired their brain networks or improved their symptoms.
By examining correlations between changes in brain function and symptoms we can learn about the neural substrates of the disorder. For example, if we find that amygdala-prefrontal connectivity increases in PTSD patients during training, and that the change in this connection is related to symptom improvement, it would provide evidence that this connection can mediate PTSD symptomatology. Thus, the two major aims of this work are to develop neurofeedback interventions for neuropsychiatric disorders and to probe the neural substrates underlying these disorders using perturb-and-measure approach targeting clinically relevant aspects of brain function. In addition to the neurofeedback research, we are running a number of other studies using functional neuroimaging to explore relationships between brain connectivity patterns and behavior.
The Hampson Lab is led by Michelle Hampson, PhD, Assistant Professor of Radiology and Biomedical Imaging, Psychiatry, and in the Child Study Center.
Most of our studies involve functional MRI scans.
- Adults with OCD with primary washing or checking symptoms (currently recruiting for neurofeedback study)
- Adolescents with Tourette Syndrome (currently recruiting for neurofeedback study)
- Adult PTSD patients with combat or urban/domestic violence traumas (currently recruiting for nfdbk study)
- Adults with high social anxiety (currently recruiting for EEG neurofeedback study)
- Healthy children ages 7-12 (soon recruiting for autism learning study)
- Children with autism ages 7-12 (soon recruiting for autism learning study)
- Children with OCD (soon recruiting)