Biocontrol Using fMRI Signals Recorded in Real Time: A New-Generation Neurotherapy

M. E. Mel’nikov, M. B. Shtark, A. A. Savelov, A. Bruhl

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    This review summarizes data on the therapeutic potential of biocontrol using fMRI signals recorded in real time (rt-fMRI), a novel technology allowing patients to learn voluntary control of activity in brain areas associated with impaired functions. Positive results have now been obtained using rt-fMRI biocontrol in poststroke states, Parkinson’s disease, pain syndrome, tinnitus, alcohol and nicotine abuse, major depressive episodes, arachnophobia, and misophobia, and possibly in schizophrenia, though it is essentially ineffective in antisocial personality disorder with criminal behavior. Nonetheless, the overall significance of results is poor because of suboptimal design, the lack of control groups, or small cohort sizes. This review considers the biological mechanisms underlying the technology, its current applications and potentials, and problems related to methods and methodology.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)295-316
    Number of pages22
    JournalNeuroscience and Behavioral Physiology
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2018


    • biocontrol using fMRI signals
    • BOLD responses
    • fMRI
    • functional connections
    • machine learning
    • mental disorders
    • neurotherapy
    • neurovascular plexus
    • real-time fMRI
    • regions of interest


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