Brain-computer interfaces for communication and rehabilitation

New paper shows potential for BCIs to help people with neuro-disorders

A new paper, published in Nature Reviews Neurology, highlights the potential for brain computer interfaces (BCIs) to help people with both communication and rehabilitation following stroke, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) or spinal cord injury.

BCIs use brain activity to control external devices and can enable people with severe neuro-disorders to interact with the environment.

The review paper, co-authored by Wyss Center Senior Research Fellow Niels Birbaumer, provides an overview of the development of BCIs and the current technology available as well as discussing experimental and clinical studies.

The review concludes that over the relatively short period of two decades, clinical research into BCIs has provided extremely promising strategies to improve the prospects for patients with otherwise debilitating neurological disorders that are currently difficult or impossible to treat.

The paper calls for further studies of BCIs in large patient groups to enable clear diagnostic criteria and definite conclusions to be reached about the value of BCIs in specific patient subsets.

The paper, Brain-computer interfaces for communication and rehabilitation by Ujwal Chaudhary, Niels Birbaumer and Ander Ramos-Murguialday, was published in Nature Reviews Neurology, August 2016.