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Papers of the Week

Papers: 13 Aug 2022 - 19 Aug 2022


Human Studies


Front Neurosci


Source localized infraslow neurofeedback training in people with chronic painful knee osteoarthritis: A randomized, double-blind, sham-controlled feasibility clinical trial.


Persistent pain is a key symptom in people living with knee osteoarthritis (KOA). Infra-slow Neurofeedback (ISF-NF) training is a recent development focusing on modulating cortical slow-wave activity to improve pain outcomes. A parallel, two-armed double-blinded, randomized sham-controlled, feasibility clinical trial aimed to determine the feasibility and safety of a novel electroencephalography-based infraslow fluctuation neurofeedback (EEG ISF-NF) training in people with KOA and determine the variability of clinical outcomes and EEG changes following NF training. Eligible participants attended nine 30-min ISF-NF training sessions involving three cortical regions linked to pain. Feasibility measures were monitored during the trial period. Pain and functional outcomes were measured at baseline, post-intervention, and follow-up after 2 weeks. Resting-state EEG was recorded at baseline and immediate post-intervention. Participants were middle-aged (61.7 ± 7.6 years), New Zealand European (90.5%), and mostly females (62%) with an average knee pain duration of 4 ± 3.4 years. The study achieved a retention rate of 91%, with 20/22 participants completing all the sessions. Participants rated high levels of acceptance and "moderate to high levels of perceived effectiveness of the training." No serious adverse events were reported during the trial. Mean difference (95% CI) for clinical pain and function measures are as follows for pain severity [active: 0.89 ± 1.7 (-0.27 to 2.0); sham: 0.98 ± 1.1 (0.22-1.7)], pain interference [active: 0.75 ± 2.3 (-0.82 to 2.3); Sham: 0.89 ± 2.1 (-0.60 to 2.4)], pain unpleasantness [active: 2.6 ± 3.7 (0.17-5.1); sham: 2.8 ± 3 (0.62-5.0)] and physical function [active: 6.2 ± 13 (-2.6 to 15); sham: 1.6 ± 12 (-6.8 to 10)]. EEG sources demonstrated frequency-specific neuronal activity, functional connectivity, and ISF ratio changes following NF training. The findings of the study indicated that the ISF-NF training is a feasible, safe, and acceptable intervention for pain management in people with KOA, with high levels of perceived effectiveness. The study also reports the variability in clinical, brain activity, and connectivity changes following training.