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Real-Time Modulation of Brain Oscillatory Activity as a Novel Treatment/Preventive Toll for Children with ASD and OCD

Clinical, neuroimaging and genetic studies suggest that children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) share a common pattern of heritability and obsessive/compulsive symptoms, and thus may be considered jointly as obsessive-compulsive (O-C) spectrum disorders. Current conceptual frameworks for both disorders emphasize deficits in attentional inhibitory control and connectivity in inhibitory brain networks.

Magnetoencephalography (MEG) studies demonstrate in ASD and OCD a significantly reduced power and task-related flexibility of brain oscillations in the alpha range (8-13Hz), an indicator of top-down inhibitory control.

The objective of this study was to examine whether training of real-time enhancement of alpha power and task-related brain alpha modulation using a Brain-MEG Interface system, would be associated with improvement in children’s attentional capacity and with an increase in top-down inhibitory control of behavior.

The potential contribution of this study is to enhance our understanding of the neural developmental bases of brain top-down attentional inhibitory control in children with ASD and OCD. The ultimate goal is to contribute to development of a novel, neuroimaging-inspired, non-invasive and child-friendly treatment and preventive approach for children with ASD and OCD.