A review of the progression and future implications of brain-computer interface therapies for restoration of distal upper extremity motor function after stroke

Expert Rev Med Devices. 2016 May;13(5):445-54. doi: 10.1080/17434440.2016.1174572.


Stroke is a leading cause of acquired disability resulting in distal upper extremity functional motor impairment. Stroke mortality rates continue to decline with advances in healthcare and medical technology. This has led to an increased demand for advanced, personalized rehabilitation. Survivors often experience some level of spontaneous recovery shortly after their stroke event, yet reach a functional plateau after which there is exiguous motor recovery. Nevertheless, studies have demonstrated the potential for recovery beyond this plateau. Non-traditional neurorehabilitation techniques, such as those incorporating the brain-computer interface (BCI), are being investigated for rehabilitation. BCIs may offer a gateway to the brain's plasticity and revolutionize how humans interact with the world. Non-invasive BCIs work by closing the proprioceptive feedback loop with real-time, multi-sensory feedback allowing for volitional modulation of brain signals to assist hand function. BCI technology potentially promotes neuroplasticity and Hebbian-based motor recovery by rewarding cortical activity associated with sensory-motor rhythms through use with a variety of self-guided and assistive modalities.

Keywords: BCI therapy; Brain-computer interface; EEG; Hebbian-learning; MI; UE motor recovery; sensory-motor regions.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Brain-Computer Interfaces*
  • Humans
  • Motor Activity / physiology*
  • Recovery of Function / physiology*
  • Stroke / physiopathology*
  • Stroke / therapy*
  • Stroke Rehabilitation*
  • Upper Extremity / physiopathology*