Objectives: Brain-Computer Interfaces (BCIs) show important rehabilitation effect for patients after stroke. Previous studies have shown improvement, also for patients that are in chronic stage and/or have severe hemiparesis and are particularly challenging for conventional rehabilitation techniques.
Design: For this pilot study five stroke patients in chronic phase with hemiparesis in the lower extremity were recruited. All of them participated in 25 BCI sessions about 3 times a week. BCI system was based on the motor imagery of the paretic foot and healthy hand with Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES) and Avatar feedback. Assessments were conducted to assess the changes in motor improvement before, after and during the rehabilitation training.
Results: Our primary measures used for the assessment were 10-meters walk test (10MWT) and Timed "Up and Go" Test (TUG). The results show an improvement in the 10MWT of 8.54 seconds (25.5%) for all 5 patients in self-selected velocity. TUG improvement was 7.3 seconds (16% faster). One patient was not able to perform this test the results before the rehabilitation training due to the impermanent and difficulties in mobility, but was finally able to perform this test after the BCI sessions.
These outcomes show the feasibility of this BCI approach for chronic stroke patients, and further support the growing consensus that these types of tools might develop into a new paradigm for rehabilitation tool for stroke patients. However, the results are from only five chronic stroke patients so the authors believe that this approach should be further validated in broader randomized controlled studies involving more patients.
Nensi Murovec– Research and therapy, mSc, gtec medical engineering GmbH
Marc Sebastian-Romagosa– PhD candidate, g.tec medical engineering Spain S.L
Woosang cho– Phd Candidate, gtec medical engineering GmbH
Sara dangl– therapy, gtec medical engineering GmbH
Rupert Ortner– Research, 3g.tec medical engineering Spain S.L.
Kartin Mayr– Salses, g.tec neurotechnology USA, Inc.
Fan Cao– Sales, g.tec neurotechnology USA, Inc.
Christoph Guger– CEO, gtec medical engineering GmbH