Amygdala-related electrical fingerprint is modulated with neurofeedback training and correlates with deep-brain activation: proof-of-concept in borderline personality disorder

Malte Zopfs*, Miroslava Jindrová, Guy Gurevitch, Jackob N. Keynan, Talma Hendler, Sarah Baumeister, Pascal M. Aggensteiner, Sven Cornelisse, Daniel Brandeis, Christian Schmahl, Christian Paret*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background. The modulation of brain circuits of emotion is a promising pathway to treat borderline personality disorder (BPD). Precise and scalable approaches have yet to be established. Two studies investigating the amygdala-related electrical fingerprint (Amyg-EFP) in BPD are presented: one study addressing the deep-brain correlates of Amyg-EFP, and a second study investigating neurofeedback (NF) as a means to improve brain self-regulation. Methods. Study 1 combined electroencephalography (EEG) and simultaneous functional magnetic resonance imaging to investigate the replicability of Amyg-EFP-related brain activation found in the reference dataset (N = 24 healthy subjects, 8 female; re-analysis of published data) in the replication dataset (N = 16 female individuals with BPD). In the replication dataset, we additionally explored how the Amyg-EFP would map to neural circuits defined by the research domain criteria. Study 2 investigated a 10-session Amyg-EFP NF training in parallel to a 12-weeks residential dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) program. Fifteen patients with BPD completed the training, N = 15 matched patients served as DBT-only controls. Results. Study 1 replicated previous findings and showed significant amygdala blood oxygenation level dependent activation in a whole-brain regression analysis with the Amyg-EFP. Neurocircuitry activation (negative affect, salience, and cognitive control) was correlated with the Amyg-EFP signal. Study 2 showed Amyg-EFP modulation with NF training, but patients received reversed feedback for technical reasons, which limited interpretation of results. Conclusions. Recorded via scalp EEG, the Amyg-EFP picks up brain activation of high relevance for emotion. Administering Amyg-EFP NF in addition to standardized BPD treatment was shown to be feasible. Clinical utility remains to be investigated.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPsychological Medicine
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2023

Funding

FundersFunder number
GrayMatters Health

    Keywords

    • EEG
    • amygdala
    • borderline personality disorder
    • emotion regulation
    • fMRI
    • neurofeedback
    • neuroimaging
    • post-traumatic stress disorder
    • psychopathology

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