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Clin EEG Neurosci. 2015 Oct;46(4):310-20. doi: 10.1177/1550059414522229. Epub 2014 Apr 21.

A Randomized Controlled Trial of EEG-Based Motor Imagery Brain-Computer Interface Robotic Rehabilitation for Stroke.

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Institute for Infocomm and Research, Agency of Science, Technology and Research, Singapore
Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, Tan Tock Seng Hospital Rehabilitation Centre, Singapore.
Institute for Infocomm and Research, Agency of Science, Technology and Research, Singapore.
Clinical Research Unit, Tan Tock Seng Hospital, Singapore.


Electroencephalography (EEG)-based motor imagery (MI) brain-computer interface (BCI) technology has the potential to restore motor function by inducing activity-dependent brain plasticity. The purpose of this study was to investigate the efficacy of an EEG-based MI BCI system coupled with MIT-Manus shoulder-elbow robotic feedback (BCI-Manus) for subjects with chronic stroke with upper-limb hemiparesis. In this single-blind, randomized trial, 26 hemiplegic subjects (Fugl-Meyer Assessment of Motor Recovery After Stroke [FMMA] score, 4-40; 16 men; mean age, 51.4 years; mean stroke duration, 297.4 days), prescreened with the ability to use the MI BCI, were randomly allocated to BCI-Manus or Manus therapy, lasting 18 hours over 4 weeks. Efficacy was measured using upper-extremity FMMA scores at weeks 0, 2, 4 and 12. ElEG data from subjects allocated to BCI-Manus were quantified using the revised brain symmetry index (rBSI) and analyzed for correlation with the improvements in FMMA score. Eleven and 15 subjects underwent BCI-Manus and Manus therapy, respectively. One subject in the Manus group dropped out. Mean total FMMA scores at weeks 0, 2, 4, and 12 weeks improved for both groups: 26.3±10.3, 27.4±12.0, 30.8±13.8, and 31.5±13.5 for BCI-Manus and 26.6±18.9, 29.9±20.6, 32.9±21.4, and 33.9±20.2 for Manus, with no intergroup differences (P=.51). More subjects attained further gains in FMMA scores at week 12 from BCI-Manus (7 of 11 [63.6%]) than Manus (5 of 14 [35.7%]). A negative correlation was found between the rBSI and FMMA score improvement (P=.044). BCI-Manus therapy was well tolerated and not associated with adverse events. In conclusion, BCI-Manus therapy is effective and safe for arm rehabilitation after severe poststroke hemiparesis. Motor gains were comparable to those attained with intensive robotic therapy (1,040 repetitions/session) despite reduced arm exercise repetitions using EEG-based MI-triggered robotic feedback (136 repetitions/session). The correlation of rBSI with motor improvements suggests that the rBSI can be used as a prognostic measure for BCI-based stroke rehabilitation.


EEG; brain-computer interface; motor imagery; rehabilitation; stroke

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