A recent study by Finn et al. (2015), investigating brain activity patterns within individuals, the researchers were able to identify, through neural activity, which brain scans belonged to which participant with a 98-99% degree of accuracy. This finding suggests a neurological ‘fingerprint’ for individuals may be used in the near future.
The study was conducted as part of the Human Connectome Project and published in Nature Neuroscience in October, 2015. The project is aimed at mapping the pathways and activity of the brain in 1200 people.
Researchers had identified that while the participant was lying down at rest, brain scans could be matched with later scans of the same individual with a 98%-99% accuracy, yet this degree of accuracy dropped to 80-90% whilst the participant performed various cognitive tasks.
Whilst brain regions associated with motor skills and vision had relatively similar activity patterns between participants, brain activity within the frontal lobe appeared to differ between individuals. With this identification, further research can begin to investigate ways in which brain activity can be assessed and incorporated into the treatment of mental health problems, suggesting that tailored made therapies can be derived.
With this slight difference found in the frontal lobes, further research can begin to identify what exactly underpins this variance amongst individuals. Investigations for a neural ‘fingerprint’ can begin to delve into the neural individualisation of brain activity which can aid professionals in the customisation of individualised therapies, eliminating the trial and error involved with numerous drug treatments for neuropsychiatric illnesses.
qEEG based neurofeeddback training offered at Learning Discoveries Psychological Services is an example of a tailor-made intervention based on brain wave activity. Neurofeedback training restores neural function and quality of life for those with mental health issues whilst being drug-free and non-toxic.
Finn, E. S., Shen, X., Scheinost, D., Rosenberg, M. D., Huang, J., Chun, M. M., … & Constable, R. T. (2015). Functional connectome fingerprinting: identifying individuals using patterns of brain connectivity. Nature neuroscience, 18(11), 1664-1674. doi:10.1038/nn.4135