Exploratory Study of Low Resolution Electromagnetic Tomography (LORETA) Real-Time Z-Score Feedback in the Treatment of Pain in Patients with Head and Neck Cancer
Acute pain from mucositis in patients with head and neck cancer (HNC) undergoing radiation therapy (RT) is common, and may not respond well to narcotics. We used low resolution electromagnetic tomography z-score neurofeedback (LFBz) to investigate whether patients could modify brain wave activity associated with acute pain and whether this would reduce the experience of pain. HNC patients scheduled for RT had baseline pre-pain onset measures (EEG and numeric rating scale) collected before RT and then at pain onset before using analgesics, after each LFBz session and at the end of RT. Up to six sessions of LFBz training were offered over the remaining RT. Up to six 20-min sessions of LFBz were offered over the remaining RT. Data were collected before and after each LFBz session and at the end of RT. Seventeen patients recruited; fourteen were treated and reported decreased pain perception. LFBz allowed patients to modify their brain activity in predesignated areas of the pain matrix toward the direction of their baseline, pre-pain condition (including Brodmann areas (BAs) 3, 4, 5, 13, 24, and 33). LFBz can modify brain regions relevant for pain and these changes were associated with self-reported decreases in pain perception.
KeywordsEEG Neurofeedback LORETA Pain Cancer
The authors would like to acknowledge our participants and Bob Thatcher (Neuroguide) for his software scholarship.
Supported by Grant Number PF-11-169-01-PCSM from the American Cancer Society, 1K01AT008485-01 from the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, The Rising Tide Foundation, and by The Hille Foundation.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of interest
The authors have no financial interest and nothing to disclose.
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