Computers may help patients restore movement after stroke
(Medical Xpress) -- New research suggests that patients whose mobility has been limited by stroke may one day use their imagination and a computer link to move their hands.
In patients, scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have shown they can detect the brain simply thinking about moving a partially or completely paralyzed hand. The half of the brain that normally thinks such thoughts and moves the hand can no longer do so because of stroke damage. Instead, the signal comes from the undamaged half of the brain.
The new study suggests it may be possible to harness these signals to restore a fuller range of movement in the patients limbs.
Weve known for some time that the brain can reroute or otherwise adapt its circuits to cope with an injury, says senior author Eric Leuthardt, MD, associate professor of neurosurgery, of biomedical engineering and of neurobiology. Now we have proof-of-principle that we can use technology to aid that process.
To demonstrate the potential to help restore movement, scientists connected brain signals detected by an electrode-studded cap to the movements of a cursor on a computer screen. In 30 minutes or less, patients learned to control the movement of the cursor with thoughts of moving their impaired hand. Researchers are now working on a motorized glove that will make the imagined movements a reality.
The results are available online in The Journal of Neural Engineering.
Leuthardt, who is director of Washington Universitys Center for Innovation in Neuroscience and Technology, is a pioneer in the field of brain-computer interfaces, or devices that allow the brain to communicate directly with computers to restore abilities lost to injury or disease.
Much of Leuthardts research has focused on patients with epilepsy who are undergoing surgery to remove the part of the brain where their seizures originate. He uses the electrode grids temporarily implanted on the surface of the brain to pinpoint areas where the seizures begin. With the patients permissions, Leuthardt also uses the implants to gather and analyze detailed information on brain activity for future use in brain-computer interfaces. This approach laid the foundations for the technique now being applied to the stroke population.
In the new research, first author David Bundy, a graduate student, worked with four patients who had suffered strokes that caused extensive damage on one side of the brain. All were experiencing paralysis or significant difficulty moving the hand on the opposite side of the body.
The brain signals that control movement are low-frequency signals, which makes them relatively easy to detect with electrodes on the outside of the skull. Researchers fitted patients with an electrode-studded cap connected to a computer, and asked them to perform a finger-tapping activity. Depending on a cue flashed on a screen in front of them, the patients either tapped the fingers of their unimpaired hand or imagined tapping the fingers of the impaired hand. Scientists used the cap to identify signals in healthy part of the brain that accompanied the imaginary movements.
The researchers are now developing motorized braces that can be controlled by similar signals, with the goal of restoring full movement in weak or paralyzed limbs.
This is an exciting development that opens up new opportunities to help even more patients overcome limitations imposed by brain damage or degeneration, Leuthardt says.
More information: Bundy DT, Wronkiewicz M, Sharma M, Moran DW, Corbetta M, Leuthardt EC. Using ipsilateral motor signals in the unaffected cerebral hemisphere as a signal platform for brain-computer interfaces in hemiplegic stroke. The Journal of Neural Engineering, June 2012 doi:10.1088/1741-2560/9/3/036011
Journal reference: Journal of Neural Engineering
Provided by Washington University in St. Louis
- Control the cursor with power of thought Apr 07, 2011 | not rated yet | 0
- Brain's 'radio stations' have much to tell scientists Feb 07, 2011 | not rated yet | 0
- Brain-controlled cursor doubles as a neural workout Feb 15, 2010 | not rated yet | 0
- Researchers reconstruct 3-D hand movement using brain signals Mar 02, 2010 | not rated yet | 0
- Brain-activated muscle stimulation restores monkeys' hand movement after paralysis Apr 18, 2012 | not rated yet | 0
- Motion perception revisited: High Phi effect challenges established motion perception assumptions Apr 23, 2013 | 3 / 5 (2) | 2
- Anything you can do I can do better: Neuromolecular foundations of the superiority illusion (Update) Apr 02, 2013 | 4.5 / 5 (11) | 5
- The visual system as economist: Neural resource allocation in visual adaptation Mar 30, 2013 | 5 / 5 (2) | 9
- Separate lives: Neuronal and organismal lifespans decoupled Mar 27, 2013 | 4.9 / 5 (8) | 0
- Sizing things up: The evolutionary neurobiology of scale invariance Feb 28, 2013 | 4.8 / 5 (10) | 14
Pressure-volume curve: Elastic Recoil Pressure don't make sense
May 18, 2013 From pressure-volume curve of the lung and chest wall (attached photo), I don't understand why would the elastic recoil pressure of the lung is...
If you became brain-dead, would you want them to pull the plug?
May 17, 2013 I'd want the rest of me to stay alive. Sure it's a lousy way to live but it beats being all-the-way dead. Maybe if I make it 20 years they'll...
MRI bill question
May 15, 2013 Dear PFers, The hospital gave us a $12k bill for one MRI (head with contrast). The people I talked to at the hospital tell me that they do not...
Ratio of Hydrogen of Oxygen in Dessicated Animal Protein
May 13, 2013 As an experiment, for the past few months I've been consuming at least one portion of Jell-O or unflavored Knox gelatin per day. I'm 64, in very...
Alcohol and acetaminophen
May 13, 2013 Edit: sorry for the typo in the title , can't edit I looked around on google quite a bit and it's very hard to find precise information on the...
Marie Curie's leukemia
May 13, 2013 Does anyone know what might be the cause of Marie Curie's cancer
- More from Physics Forums - Medical Sciences
More news stories
For combat veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, 'fear circuitry' in the brain never rests
Chronic trauma can inflict lasting damage to brain regions associated with fear and anxiety. Previous imaging studies of people with post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, have shown that these brain regions can over-or ...
Neuroscience May 18, 2013 | 5 / 5 (1) | 0 |
The neural machinery underlying our olfactory sense continues to be an enigma for neuroscience. A recent review in Neuron seeks to expand traditional ideas about how neurons in the olfactory bulb might encode information about ...
Neuroscience May 17, 2013 | 4 / 5 (1) | 0 |
(Medical Xpress)—What if the quality of your work depends more on your focus on the piano keys or canvas or laptop than your musical or painting or computing skills? If target users can be convinced, they ...
Neuroscience May 17, 2013 | 3.7 / 5 (3) | 0 |
Neurological disorders can have a devastating impact on the lives of sufferers and their families.
Neuroscience May 17, 2013 | 5 / 5 (1) | 0 |
If you're a left-brain thinker, chances are you use your right hand to hold your cell phone up to your right ear, according to a newly published study from Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit.
Neuroscience May 16, 2013 | 2 / 5 (2) | 0 |
Researchers at the University of Wisconsin have identified a potential new risk factor for obstructive sleep apnea: asthma. Using data from the National Institutes of Health (Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute)-funded Wisconsin ...
7 hours ago | not rated yet | 0 |
In their quest to learn more about the variability of cells between and within tissues, biomedical scientists have devised tools capable of simultaneously measuring dozens of characteristics of individual ...
8 hours ago | 5 / 5 (2) | 0 |
A new study looking at sleep-disordered breathing (SDB) and markers for Alzheimer's disease (AD) risk in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and neuroimaging adds to the growing body of research linking the two.
7 hours ago | 5 / 5 (1) | 0 |
Scientists at Johns Hopkins have turned their view of osteoarthritis (OA) inside out. Literally. Instead of seeing the painful degenerative disease as a problem primarily of the cartilage that cushions joints, ...
8 hours ago | 5 / 5 (3) | 0 |
The hunt for an HIV vaccine has gobbled up $8 billion in the past decade, and the failure of the most recent efficacy trial has delivered yet another setback to 26 years of efforts.
12 hours ago | not rated yet | 0
Gourmands and foodies everywhere have long recognized ginger as a great way to add a little peppery zing to both sweet and savory dishes; now, a study from researchers at Columbia University shows purified components of the ...
7 hours ago | not rated yet | 0