Brain-computer interface improves motor function in stroke patients

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Researchers from the University of Adelaide have developed a brain-computer interface (BCI) capable of improving motor function in stroke patients. Findings were published in Royal Society Open Science.

This study explains how the BCI training and translation of brain signals can improves patient outcomes after a stroke.

The BCI technology measured brain signals through the scalp. When the subject imagined completing motor function, the BCI trasmitted electrical signals into a computer. An algorithm then interpreted the brain signals and provided sensory feedback through a robotic manipulator. In a single case study, the BCI was able to improve hand motor function by 36 percent in 10 training sessions of 30 minutes.

"In the majority of strokes, the area of the brain that sends motor commands to the muscles becomes partly damaged and thereby degrades motor functions of the affected parts," said Sam Darvishi, PhD in the University of Adelaide's School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering. "During the early phases of motor learning (such as when we are toddlers) our brain and body learn how to work in harmony when the brain commands the target muscles and then receives feedback via seeing and feeling each body movement. After a stroke, the brain needs to re-train the lost skills.”