Fully Implanted Brain-Computer Interface in a Locked-In Patient with ALS

N Engl J Med. 2016 Nov 24;375(21):2060-2066. doi: 10.1056/NEJMoa1608085. Epub 2016 Nov 12.


Options for people with severe paralysis who have lost the ability to communicate orally are limited. We describe a method for communication in a patient with late-stage amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), involving a fully implanted brain-computer interface that consists of subdural electrodes placed over the motor cortex and a transmitter placed subcutaneously in the left side of the thorax. By attempting to move the hand on the side opposite the implanted electrodes, the patient accurately and independently controlled a computer typing program 28 weeks after electrode placement, at the equivalent of two letters per minute. The brain-computer interface offered autonomous communication that supplemented and at times supplanted the patient's eye-tracking device. (Funded by the Government of the Netherlands and the European Union; ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT02224469 .).

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis / complications
  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis / rehabilitation*
  • Aphonia / etiology
  • Aphonia / rehabilitation*
  • Brain-Computer Interfaces*
  • Communication Aids for Disabled*
  • Electrodes, Implanted
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Motor Cortex
  • Neurological Rehabilitation / instrumentation
  • Quadriplegia / etiology
  • Quadriplegia / rehabilitation*

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT02224469