A clinically-viable brain-computer interface for inducing neuroplasticity for stroke rehabilitation
Dario Farina (Bioengineering)
Paul Bentley (Medicine)
The causal relation between motor commands and afferent volley, with precise temporal delay, may be used to modulate cortical excitability in humans. An example of this approach is paired associative stimulation (PAS), in which cortical stimulation with transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is paired with electrical peripheral stimulation. An alternative way to influence cortical excitability is to use the naturally generated brain activation (instead of TMS) when a person imagines (or attempt to execute) a movement and to combine this with an artificial afferent inflow as it would be generated had the movement been performed. According to this approach, motor intention has to be detected from EEG signals with high accuracy and specificity as well as with small latency (because of the associative effects to be induced). This project focuses on the development of a novel intervention based on a non-invasive brain-computer interface (BCI) that acts as a brain switch to trigger a peripheral afferent volley (such as peripheral nerve stimulation or an active orthosis). The project aims at the full development of this asynchronous BCI system, with special focus on robustness, reliability, and translational potential, and at its application in a randomized clinical trial on acute and sub-acute stroke patients.