Targeting Hippocampal Hyperactivity With Real-time Functional MRI Based Neurofeedback in Elderly Individuals With and Without Memory Problems

2019-07-19 10:43:31 | BioPortfolio


Increased activity in the hippocampus (i.e. hyperactivity) during a memory task in the magnetic resonance (MR) scanner was found both in healthy elderly participants as well as in patients with mild cognitive impairment (MCI, a prodromal of Alzheimer's disease). Additionally, individuals with increased hippocampal activity showed elevated amyloid-ß load over time, accompanied with an increased progression rate to Alzheimer's disease. Reducing hippocampal hyperactivity with pharmacological treatment improved memory functions in patients with MCI. The investigators will apply real-time fMRI based neurofeedback to downregulate hippocampal activity and thereby test if this is beneficial for memory functions.


Alzheimer`s disease (AD) is an insidious and progressive neurodegenerative disease accompanied by extracellular deposits of beta-amyloids (⁠aβ) and the increase of cognitive dysfunctions. Several functional magnet resonance imaging (fMRI) studies in the prodromal stage of AD have found increased hippocampal activity during a memory task to be predictive of memory worsening and disease progression. In this study the investigators are aiming to reduce hippocampal hyperactivity with real-time functional magnet resonance imaging (rtfMRI) based neurofeedback.

This study will use a multicenter, placebo-controlled, randomized, double-blinded parallel group design. Patients with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and healthy participants will be assigned to receive rtfMRI from either the hippocampus (experimental group, N=40) or from another brain area (alternate region of interest (ROI) feedback group, N=40). All participants will be instructed to downregulate their hippocampal activity to a target level.

Study Design


Mild Cognitive Impairment


real-time fMRI based neurofeedback from the hippocampus, real-time fMRI based neurofeedback from another brain area


SITEM (Swiss Institute for Translational and Entrepreneurial Medicine)


Not yet recruiting


University of Bern

Results (where available)

View Results


Published on BioPortfolio: 2019-07-19T10:43:31-0400

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