Aim: To assess the efficacy of a novel neurofeedback (NF) method, targeting limbic activity, to treat emotional dysregulation related to premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD). Methods: We applied a NF probe targeting limbic activity using a functional magnetic resonance imaging-inspired electroencephalogram model (termed Amyg-EFP-NF) in a double-blind randomized controlled trial. A frontal alpha asymmetry probe (AAS-NF), served as active control. Twenty-seven participants diagnosed with PMDD (mean age = 33.57 years, SD = 5.67) were randomly assigned to Amyg-EFP-NF or AAS-NF interventions with a 2:1 ratio, respectively. The treatment protocol consisted of 11 NF sessions through three menstrual cycles, and a follow-up assessment 3 months thereafter. The primary outcome measure was improvement in the Revised Observer Version of the Premenstrual Tension Syndrome Rating Scale (PMTS-OR). Results: A significant group by time effect was observed for the core symptom subscale of the PMTS-OR, with significant improvement observed at follow-up for the Amyg-EFP group compared with the AAS group [F(1, 15)=4.968, P = 0.042]. This finding was specifically robust for reduction in anger [F(1, 15) = 22.254, P < 0.001]. A significant correlation was found between learning scores and overall improvement in core symptoms (r = 0.514, P = 0.042) suggesting an association between mechanism of change and clinical improvement. Conclusion: Our preliminary findings suggest that Amyg-EFP-NF may serve as an affordable and accessible non-invasive treatment option for emotional dysregulation in women suffering from PMDD. Our main limitations were the relatively small number of participants and the lack of a sham-NF placebo arm.
- amygdala electrical fingerprint
- emotional dysregulation
- premenstrual dysphoric disorder