What is the role of a brain-computer interface (BCI) in spinal cord injury (SCI) management?

Updated: Nov 01, 2018
  • Author: Lawrence S Chin, MD, FACS; Chief Editor: Brian H Kopell, MD  more...
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Answer

SCI can leave patients with severe or complete permanent paralysis. Brain-computer interface (BCI) can potentially restore or substitute for motor behaviors in patients with a high-cervical SCI. [26] Recent studies have shown that patients with SCI are able to control virtual keyboards, [27] a computer cursor, [26] and a limb prosthetic device [28] using BCI technologies. The BCI outputs are accomplished by acquiring neurophysiological signals associated with a motor process in the cerebral cortex, analyzing these signals in real time, and subsequently translating them into commands for a limb prosthesis. These are promising findings; in the future, BCI may provide a permanent solution for restoration of motor functions in SCI patients.


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