PhD position

Defining neurofeedback parameters to reduce anxiety

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The objectives of the research project is therefore to identify the EEG signature(s) of the anxiety state and define the parameters allowing to reduce anxiety with NF at best in anxiety disorders.

Description

The PhD project below is part of NeuroSchool’s “PhD Scholarships for International Students” call, which will fund 3 scholarships among the nine proposed projects.
APPLICATION MUST PROCEED THROUGH OUR WEBSITE: https://neuro-marseille.org/en/Calls/phd-scholarships-for-international-students/

STATE OF THE ART : Electroencephalographic (EEG) Neurofeedback (NF) is a technic that measures a subject’s EEG signal. Based on this rest EEG, one or several parameters of interest are presented in visual and/or auditory forms to subjects so that they can learn how to modulate their brain activity (Micoulaud, 2015). NF can be used in several pathologies such as developmental disorders, but it also appeared to be efficient in reducing anxiety (Menella et al., 2017) that seems to be associated to power increase in the frontal high beta band (Marzbani et al., 2017). Few studies have been conducted on anxiety disorders modulation by NF (Moore et al., 2000; Hammond, 2005) despite that up to 33.7 % of the population is affected by anxiety disorders during the life time (Bandelow & Michaelis, 2015). Even if the alpha and theta band training appeared effective treatments for anxiety disorders beyond placebo, NF remains classified as “possibly efficacious”. Scientific validation of NF efficacy with anxiety disorders is therefore necessary as well as the establishment of precise protocols.

OBJECTIVES : The objectives of the research project is therefore to identify the EEG signature(s) of the anxiety state and define the parameters (electrods position, frequency bands to regulate, number of sessions) allowing to reduce anxiety with NF at best in anxiety disorders.

METHODS : Anxiety defined by questionnaires (Stai A and B) will be assessed before and after 10 to 15 NF sessions in 4 groups of participants with anxiety disorders according to 4 conditions (alpha or theta band regulation, and frontal or parietal electrod), and a control placebo group. Anxiety disorders will be evaluated according to DSM-V criteria for anxiety disorders and STAI questionnaires (State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (Schweitzer & Paulhan, 1990)). Before and after each NF session, rest EEG from 19 electrods will be recorded (Mitsar system) to assess the EEG evolution. During the NF sessions performed thanks to Though Technology apparatus, EEG values will be measured each 3 minutes.

EXPECTED RESULTS : This research project is expected to first allowing to define one or several rest EEG profiles of the anxiety state. Second, we expect to validate the NF efficiency for anxiety disorders reduction. Third, we expect defining the best NF protocol for anxiety reduction in terms of electrode site, frequency bands and number of sessions to be chosen. We therefore will be able to define the most efficient neuronal plasticity to reduce anxiety (frontal or parietal mechanisms and low of middle frequency bands).

Desired profile

For this research project, the candidate is expected to have solid knowledge in neuroscience and if possible in electrophysiology.

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