[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Objective. Recently, there have been several approaches to utilize a brain–computer interface (BCI) for rehabilitation with stroke patients or as an assistive device for the paralyzed. In this study we investigated whether up to seven different hand movement intentions can be decoded from epidural electrocorticography (ECoG) in chronic stroke patients. Approach. In a screening session we recorded epidural ECoG data over the ipsilesional motor cortex from four chronic stroke patients who had no residual hand movement. Data was analyzed offline using a support vector machine (SVM) to decode different movement intentions. Main results. We showed that up to seven hand movement intentions can be decoded with an average accuracy of 61% (chance level 15.6%). When reducing the number of classes, average accuracies up to 88% can be achieved for decoding three different movement intentions. Significance. The findings suggest that ipsilesional epidural ECoG can be used as a viable control signal for BCI-driven neuroprosthesis. Although patients showed no sign of residual hand movement, brain activity at the ipsilesional motor cortex still shows enough intention-related activity to decode different movement intentions with sufficient accuracy. S Online supplementary data available from stacks.iop.org/jne/11/066008/mmedia Keywords: electrocorticography (ECOG), stroke, brain-computer interface (BCI) (Some figures may appear in colour only in the online journal)
Journal of Neural Engineering 10/2014; 11(6). · 3.28 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background: Recent experimental evidence has indicated that the motor system coordinates muscle activations through a linear combination of muscle synergies that are specified at the spinal or brainstem networks level. After stroke upper limb impairment is characterized by abnormal patterns of muscle activations or synergies.
Objective: This study aimed at characterizing the muscle synergies in severely affected chronic stroke patients. Furthermore, the influence of integrity of the sensorimotor cortex on synergy modularity and its relation with motor impairment was evaluated.
Methods: Surface electromyography from 33 severely impaired chronic stroke patients was recorded during 6 bilateral movements. Muscle synergies were extracted and synergy patterns were correlated with motor impairment scales.
Results: Muscle synergies extracted revealed different physiological patterns dependent on the preservation of the sensorimotor cortex. Patients without intact sensorimotor cortex showed a high preservation of muscle synergies. On the contrary, patients with intact sensorimotor cortex showed poorer muscle synergies preservation and an increase in new generated synergies. Furthermore, the preservation of muscle synergies correlated positively with hand functionality in patients with intact sensorimotor cortex and subcortical lesions only.
Conclusion: Our results indicate that severely paralyzed chronic stroke patient with intact sensorimotor cortex might sculpt new synergy patterns as a response to maladaptive compensatory strategies.
Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 09/2014; 8:744. · 2.91 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The aim of this review is to provide a critical overview of recent research in the field of neuroscientific and clinical application of real-time functional MRI neurofeedback (rtfMRI-nf).
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In this paper, we present an experimental approach to design systems sensitive to emotion. We describe a system for the detection of emotional states based on physiological signals and an application use case utilizing the detected emotional state. The application is an emotion management system to be used for the support in the improvement of life conditions of users suffering from cerebral palsy (CP). The system presented here combines effectively biofeedback sensors and a set of software algorithms to detect the current emotional state of the user and to react to them appropriately.
Computers Helping People with Special Needs, Paris France; 07/2014
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), cognition is affected. Cortical atrophy in frontal and temporal areas has been associated with the cognitive profile of patients. Additionally, reduced metabolic turnover and regional cerebral blood flow in frontal areas indicative of reduced neural activity have been reported for ALS. We hypothesize that functional connectivity in non-task associated functional default mode network (DMN) is associated with cognitive profile and white matter integrity. This study focused on specific cognitive tasks known to be impaired in ALS such as verbal fluency and attention, and the relationship with functional connectivity in the DMN and white matter integrity. Nine patients and 11 controls were measured with an extensive neuropsychological battery. Resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) data were acquired. Results showed that ALS patients performed significantly worse in attention and verbal fluency task. Patients showed increased functional connectivity in parahippocampal and parietal areas of the non-task associated DMN compared to controls. The more pronounced the cognitive deficits, the stronger the increase in functional connectivity in those areas. White matter integrity was reduced in frontal areas in the patients. In conclusion, increased connectivity in the DMN in parahippocampal and parietal areas might represent recruitment of accessory brain regions to compensate for dysfunctional frontal networks.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) can result in the locked-in state (LIS), characterized by paralysis, and eventual respiratory failure, compensated by artificial ventilation,(1) or the completely LIS (CLIS), with additional total paralysis of eye muscles. Brain-computer interfaces (BCIs) have been used to allow paralyzed people to regain basic communication,(2) although current EEG-based BCIs have not succeeded with CLIS patients.(3) We present Class IV case evidence to establish that communication in the CLIS is possible with a metabolic BCI based on near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS).
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Brain-Machine Interfaces (BMI) allow manipulation of external devices and computers directly with brain activity without involvement of overt motor actions. The neurophysiological principles of such robotic brain devices and BMIs follow Hebbian learning rules as described and realized by Valentino Braitenberg in his book "Vehicles," in the concept of a "thought pump" residing in subcortical basal ganglia structures. We describe here the application of BMIs for brain communication in totally locked-in patients and argue that the thought pump may extinguish-at least partially-in those people because of extinction of instrumentally learned cognitive responses and brain responses. We show that Pavlovian semantic conditioning may allow brain communication even in the completely paralyzed who does not show response-effect contingencies. Principles of skill learning and habit acquisition as formulated by Braitenberg are the building blocks of BMIs and neuroprostheses.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Sensorimotor rhythms (SMR, 8-15 Hz) are brain oscillations associated with successful motor performance, imagery, and imitation. Voluntary modulation of SMR can be used to control brain-machine interfaces (BMI) in the absence of any physical movements. The mechanisms underlying acquisition of such skill are unknown. Here, we provide evidence for a causal link between function of the primary motor cortex (M1), active during motor skill learning and retention, and successful acquisition of abstract skills such as control over SMR. Thirty healthy participants were trained on 5 consecutive days to control SMR oscillations. Each participant was randomly assigned to one of 3 groups that received either 20 min of anodal, cathodal, or sham transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) over M1. Learning SMR control across training days was superior in the anodal tDCS group relative to the other 2. Cathodal tDCS blocked the beneficial effects of training, as evidenced with sham tDCS. One month later, the newly acquired skill remained superior in the anodal tDCS group. Thus, application of weak electric currents of opposite polarities over M1 differentially modulates learning SMR control, pointing to this primary cortical region as a common substrate for acquisition of physical motor skills and learning to control brain oscillatory activity.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Objective. Patients in the completely locked-in state (CLIS), due to, for example, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), no longer possess voluntary muscle control. Assessing attention and cognitive function in these patients during the course of the disease is a challenging but essential task for both nursing staff and physicians. Approach. An electrophysiological cognition test battery, including auditory and semantic stimuli, was applied in a late-stage ALS patient at four different time points during a six-month epidural electrocorticography (ECoG) recording period. Event-related cortical potentials (ERP), together with changes in the ECoG signal spectrum, were recorded via 128 channels that partially covered the left frontal, temporal and parietal cortex. Main results. Auditory but not semantic stimuli induced significant and reproducible ERP projecting to specific temporal and parietal cortical areas. N1/P2 responses could be detected throughout the whole study period. The highest P3 ERP was measured immediately after the patient's last communication through voluntary muscle control, which was paralleled by low theta and high gamma spectral power. Three months after the patient's last communication, i.e., in the CLIS, P3 responses could no longer be detected. At the same time, increased activity in low-frequency bands and a sharp drop of gamma spectral power were recorded. Significance. Cortical electrophysiological measures indicate at least partially intact attention and cognitive function during sparse volitional motor control for communication. Although the P3 ERP and frequency-specific changes in the ECoG spectrum may serve as indicators for CLIS, a close-meshed monitoring will be required to define the exact time point of the transition.
Journal of Neural Engineering 02/2014; 11(2):026006. · 3.28 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Decisions and determinants of decisions to prolong or shorten life in the course of fatal diseases like ALS are poorly understood. Decisions and desire for hastened death of N = 93 ALS patients were investigated in a prospective longitudinal approach three times in the course of 1 year. Determinants of decisions were evaluated: quality of life (QoL), depression, feeling of being a burden, physical function, social support and cognitive status. More than half of patients had a positive attitude towards life-sustaining treatments and they had a low desire for hastened death. Of those with undecided or negative attitude, 10 % changed attitudes towards life-sustaining treatments in the course of 1 year. Patients' desire to hasten death was low and decreased significantly within 1 year despite physical function decline. Those with a high desire for hastened death decided against invasive therapeutic treatments. QoL, depression and social support were not predictors for vital decisions and remained stable. Feeling of being a burden was a predictor for decisions against life-supporting treatments. Throughout physical function loss, decisions to prolong life are flexibly adapted while desire to shorten life declines. QoL was stable and not a predictor for vital decisions, even though anticipated low QoL has been reported to be the reason to request euthanasia. In contrast, feeling of being a burden in decision making needs more attention in clinical counselling. Considering a patient's possible adaptation processes in the course of a fatal disease is necessary.
Journal of Neurology 01/2014; · 3.58 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Censor et al. (2014) combine behavioral, TMS, and neuroimaging to identify task-free neural signatures that relate to modification of motor memories. Modulation of memories using TMS may provide a powerful approach to improve human brain function in neurorehabilitation and cognitive neuroscience.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Introduction: Prostheses for upper-limb amputees are currently controlled by either myoelectric or peripheral neural signals. Performance and dexterity of these devices is still limited, particularly when it comes to controlling hand function. Movement-related brain activity might serve as a complementary bio-signal for motor control of hand prosthesis. Methods: We introduced a methodology to implant a cortical interface without direct exposure of the brain surface in an upper-limb amputee. This bi-directional interface enabled us to explore the cortical physiology following long-term transhumeral amputation. In addition, we investigated neurofeedback of electrocorticographic brain activity related to the patient's motor imagery to open his missing hand, i.e., phantom hand movement, for real-time control of a virtual hand prosthesis. Results: Both event-related brain activity and cortical stimulation revealed mutually overlapping cortical representations of the phantom hand. Phantom hand movements could be robustly classified and the patient required only three training sessions to gain reliable control of the virtual hand prosthesis in an online closed-loop paradigm that discriminated between hand opening and rest. Conclusion: Epidural implants may constitute a powerful and safe alternative communication pathway between the brain and external devices for upper-limb amputees, thereby facilitating the integrated use of different signal sources for more intuitive and specific control of multi-functional devices in clinical use.
Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 01/2014; 8:285. · 2.91 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In order to enable communication through a brain-computer interface (BCI), it is necessary to discriminate between distinct brain responses. As a first step, we probed the possibility to discriminate between affirmative (“yes”) and negative (“no”) responses using a semantic classical conditioning paradigm, within an fMRI setting. Subjects were presented with congruent and incongruent word-pairs as conditioned stimuli (CS), respectively eliciting affirmative and negative responses. Incongruent word-pairs were associated to an unpleasant unconditioned stimulus (scream, US1) and congruent word-pairs were associated to a pleasant unconditioned stimulus (baby-laughter, US2), in order to elicit emotional conditioned responses (CR). The aim was to discriminate between affirmative and negative responses, enabled by their association with the positive and negative affective stimuli. In the late acquisition phase, when the US were not present anymore, there was a strong significant differential activation for incongruent and congruent word-pairs in a cluster comprising the left insula and the inferior frontal triangularis. This association was not found in the habituation phase. These results suggest that the difference in affirmative and negative brain responses was established as an effect of conditioning, allowing to further investigate the possibility of using this paradigm for a binary choice BCI.
Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience 01/2014; · 4.76 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Electroencephalography (EEG) often fails to assess both the level (i.e., arousal) and the content (i.e., awareness) of pathologically altered consciousness in patients without motor responsiveness. This might be related to a decline of awareness, to episodes of low arousal and disturbed sleep patterns, and/or to distorting and attenuating effects of the skull and intermediate tissue on the recorded brain signals. Novel approaches are required to overcome these limitations. We introduced epidural electrocorticography (ECoG) for monitoring of cortical physiology in a late-stage amytrophic lateral sclerosis patient in completely locked-in state (CLIS). Despite long-term application for a period of six months, no implant-related complications occurred. Recordings from the left frontal cortex were sufficient to identify three arousal states. Spectral analysis of the intrinsic oscillatory activity enabled us to extract state-dependent dominant frequencies at <4, ~7 and ~20 Hz, representing sleep-like periods, and phases of low and elevated arousal, respectively. In the absence of other biomarkers, ECoG proved to be a reliable tool for monitoring circadian rhythmicity, i.e., avoiding interference with the patient when he was sleeping and exploiting time windows of responsiveness. Moreover, the effects of interventions addressing the patient's arousal, e.g., amantadine medication, could be evaluated objectively on the basis of physiological markers, even in the absence of behavioral parameters. Epidural ECoG constitutes a feasible trade-off between surgical risk and quality of recorded brain signals to gain information on the patient's present level of arousal. This approach enables us to optimize the timing of interactions and medical interventions, all of which should take place when the patient is in a phase of high arousal. Furthermore, avoiding low-responsiveness periods will facilitate measures to implement alternative communication pathways involving brain-computer interfaces (BCI).
Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 01/2014; 8:861. · 2.91 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This study contrasted the neurological correlates of calendar calculating (CC) between those individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and typically developing individuals. CC is the ability to correctly and quickly state the day of the week of a given date. Using magnetoencephalography (MEG), we presented 126 calendar tasks with dates of the present, past, and future. Event-related magnetic fields (ERF) of 3000 ms duration and brain activation patterns were compared in three savant calendar calculators with ASD (ASDCC) and three typically developing calendar calculators (TYPCC). ASDCC outperformed TYPCC in correct responses, but not in answering speed. Comparing amplitudes of their ERFs, there was a main effect of group between 1000 and 3000 ms, but no further effects of hemisphere or sensor location. We conducted CLARA source analysis across the entire CC period in each individual. Both ASDCC and TYPCC exhibited activation maxima in prefrontal areas including the insulae and the left superior temporal gyrus. This is in accordance with verbal fact retrieval and working memory as well as monitoring and coordination processes. In ASDCC, additional activation sites at the right superior occipital gyrus, the right precuneus, and the right putamen point to visual-spatial strategies and are in line with the preference of autistic individuals for engaging posterior regions relatively more strongly in various reasoning and problem solving tasks.
Brain and Cognition 01/2014; 90:157–164. · 2.82 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This pilot study aimed to explore whether criminal psychopaths can learn volitional regulation of the left anterior insula with real-time fMRI neurofeedback. Our previous studies with healthy volunteers showed that learned control of the blood oxygenation-level dependent (BOLD) signal was specific to the target region, and not a result of general arousal and global unspecific brain activation, and also that successful regulation modulates emotional responses, specifically to aversive picture stimuli but not neutral stimuli. In this pilot study, four criminal psychopaths were trained to regulate the anterior insula by employing negative emotional imageries taken from previous episodes in their lives, in conjunction with contingent feedback. Only one out of the four participants learned to increase the percent differential BOLD in the up-regulation condition across training runs. Subjects with higher Psychopathic Checklist-Revised (PCL:SV) scores were less able to increase the BOLD signal in the anterior insula than their lower PCL:SV counterparts. We investigated functional connectivity changes in the emotional network due to learned regulation of the successful participant, by employing multivariate Granger Causality Modeling (GCM). Learning to up-regulate the left anterior insula not only increased the number of connections (causal density) in the emotional network in the single successful participant but also increased the difference between the number of outgoing and incoming connections (causal flow) of the left insula. This pilot study shows modest potential for training psychopathic individuals to learn to control brain activity in the anterior insula.
Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience 01/2014; 8:344. · 4.76 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: (1) compared with amateurs and young elite, expert table tennis players are characterized by enhanced cortical activation in the motor and fronto-parietal cortex during motor imagery in response to table tennis videos; (2) in elite athletes, world rank points are associated with stronger cortical activation. To this aim, electroencephalographic data were recorded in 14 expert, 15 amateur and 15 young elite right-handed table tennis players. All subjects watched videos of a serve and imagined themselves responding with a specific table tennis stroke. With reference to a baseline period, power decrease/increase of the sensorimotor rhythm (SMR) during the pretask- and task period indexed the cortical activation/deactivation (event-related desynchronization/synchronization, ERD/ERS). Regarding hypothesis (1), 8-10 Hz SMR ERD was stronger in elite athletes than in amateurs with an intermediate ERD in young elite athletes in the motor cortex. Regarding hypothesis (2), there was no correlation between ERD/ERS in the motor cortex and world rank points in elite experts, but a weaker ERD in the fronto-parietal cortex was associated with higher world rank points. These results suggest that motor skill in table tennis is associated with focused excitability of the motor cortex during reaction, movement planning and execution with high attentional demands. Among elite experts, less activation of the fronto-parietal attention network may be necessary to become a world champion.
Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience 01/2014; 8:370. · 4.76 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Objective: Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) improves motor learning and can affect emotional processing and attention. However, it is unclear whether learned electroencephalography (EEG)-based brain-machine interface (BMI) control during tDCS is feasible, how application of transcranial electric currents during BMI control would interfere with feature-extraction of physiological brain signals and how it affects brain control performance. Here we tested this combination and evaluated stimulation-dependent artifacts across different EEG frequencies and stability of motor imagery-based BMI control. Approach: Ten healthy volunteers were invited to two BMI-sessions, each comprising two 60-trial blocks. During the trials, learned desynchronization of mu-rhythms (8-15 Hz) associated with motor imagery (MI) recorded over C4 was translated into online cursor movements on a computer screen. During block 2, either sham (session A) or anodal tDCS (session B) was applied at 1 mA with the stimulation electrode placed 1 cm anterior of C4. Main results: tDCS was associated with a significant signal power increase in the lower frequencies most evident in the signal spectrum of the EEG channel closest to the stimulation electrode. Stimulation-dependent signal power increase exhibited a decay of 12 dB per decade, leaving frequencies above 9 Hz unaffected. Analysis of BMI control performance did not indicate a difference between blocks and tDCS conditions. Conclusion: Application of tDCS during learned EEG-based self-regulation of brain oscillations above 9 Hz is feasible and safe, and might improve applicability of BMI systems.
Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience 01/2014; 8:93. · 4.76 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Recent advances in computational capacities and sensor technologies allow online translation of electric, magnetic, or metabolic brain activity into control signals of computers or external devices. These brain-machine or brain-computer interfaces (BMI/BCI) allow individuals with complete paralysis to sustain communication, for example, enabling them to answer simple “yes-no” questions or to select letters in order to spell out whole words and phrases. The possibility to sustain communication through BMI/BCI systems in paralysis raises many critical neuroethical questions addressed in this chapter.
After an introduction and overview of the available BMI/BCI systems used for communication, ethical implications of this novel technology are drafted and discussed in direct reference to results and new insights from several clinical studies. These suggest, for example, that quality of life in locked-in syndrome (LIS), a state in which an individual is unable to move or speak, is not as limited and poor as generally believed, so that “patient wills” or “advanced directives” that were signed long before the locked-in state are questionable and might be used to avoid financial and social burdens by shortening what is anticipated to be long periods of care. After discussing limitations and challenges of the current BMI/BCI technology, the chapter closes with a future outlook and perspectives.
Handbook of Neuroethics, Edited by Clausen, Jens and Levy, Neil, 01/2014: pages 705-724; Springer Netherlands., ISBN: 9789400747067