We provide an overview of recent advances in clinical applications of the BCI technology and its potential for technological multiplication. BCIs using Electroencephalographic recordings were shown to allow verbal brain communication in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also in the locked-in state. Completely locked-in patients could not communicate even after neurosurgical implantation of electrodes in the brain. Reasons for this situation and solutions are presented. BCI for brain communication is now ready for multiplication. In motor restoration in chronic stroke and spinal cord paralysis only one controlled study of the author’s group is available (Buch et al 2008 in Stroke) demonstrating complete control of hand opening and closing in chronic stroke with a magnetoencephalographic BCI but no generalization outside the laboratory. Preliminary results of a new controlled study on chronic stroke using EEG and implanted electrodes will be presented.
Behavioral psychiatric disorders usually are caused by subcortical brain dysfunctions. A new BCI for subcortical brain areas using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI-BCI) and near infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) was developed and tested in attention deficit disorders, criminal psychopaths and schizophrenia, in addition to memory disorders and addiction. Results are highly encouraging and would allow technological application at a large scale using NIRS.
Supported by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG), BMBF, Bernstein Center of Comp. Neuroscience, European Research Society (ERC), EU-grants, NIH.
Niels BIRBAUMER, Institute of Medical Psychology and Behavioral Neurobiology, University of Tuebingen and Ospedale San Camillo, IRCCS, Istituto di Ricovero e Cura a Carattere Scientifico, Venezia-Lido, Italy