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Lancet Neurol. 2008 Nov;7(11):1032-43. doi: 10.1016/S1474-4422(08)70223-0. Epub 2008 Oct 2.

Brain-computer interfaces in neurological rehabilitation.

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  • 1Cognitive and Motor Learning Laboratory, Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center, Cleveland, OH 44106, USA.


Recent advances in analysis of brain signals, training patients to control these signals, and improved computing capabilities have enabled people with severe motor disabilities to use their brain signals for communication and control of objects in their environment, thereby bypassing their impaired neuromuscular system. Non-invasive, electroencephalogram (EEG)-based brain-computer interface (BCI) technologies can be used to control a computer cursor or a limb orthosis, for word processing and accessing the internet, and for other functions such as environmental control or entertainment. By re-establishing some independence, BCI technologies can substantially improve the lives of people with devastating neurological disorders such as advanced amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. BCI technology might also restore more effective motor control to people after stroke or other traumatic brain disorders by helping to guide activity-dependent brain plasticity by use of EEG brain signals to indicate to the patient the current state of brain activity and to enable the user to subsequently lower abnormal activity. Alternatively, by use of brain signals to supplement impaired muscle control, BCIs might increase the efficacy of a rehabilitation protocol and thus improve muscle control for the patient.

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