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Restoring Motor Function With Bidirectional Neural Interfaces


Restoring Motor Function With Bidirectional Neural Interfaces

Eberhard E Fetz. Prog Brain Res.


Closed-loop brain-computer interfaces have bidirectional connections that allow activity-dependent stimulation of the brain, spinal cord, or muscles. Such bidirectional brain-computer interfaces (BBCI) have three major applications that can be used to restore lost motor function. First, the brain could learn to incorporate a long-term artificial recurrent connection into normal behavior, exploiting the brain's ability to adapt to consistent sensorimotor conditions. The obvious clinical application for restoring motor function is to use an artificial recurrent connection to bridge a lost biological connection. Second, activity-dependent stimulation can generate synaptic plasticity on the cellular level. The corresponding clinical application is to strengthen weakened neural connections, such as occur in stroke. A third application involves delivery of activity-dependent deep brain stimulation at subcortical reward sites, which can operantly reinforce the activity that generates the stimulation. The BBCI paradigm has numerous specific applications, depending on the source of the signals and the stimulated targets.

Keywords: activity-dependent stimulation; bidirectional; brain–computer interface; closed loop; plasticity.

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