Auditory cues reveal intended movement information in middle frontal gyrus neuronal ensemble activity of a person with tetraplegia

Sci Rep. 2021 Jan 11;11(1):98. doi: 10.1038/s41598-020-77616-8.


Intracortical brain-computer interfaces (iBCIs) allow people with paralysis to directly control assistive devices using neural activity associated with the intent to move. Realizing the full potential of iBCIs critically depends on continued progress in understanding how different cortical areas contribute to movement control. Here we present the first comparison between neuronal ensemble recordings from the left middle frontal gyrus (MFG) and precentral gyrus (PCG) of a person with tetraplegia using an iBCI. As expected, PCG was more engaged in selecting and generating intended movements than in earlier perceptual stages of action planning. By contrast, MFG displayed movement-related information during the sensorimotor processing steps preceding the appearance of the action plan in PCG, but only when the actions were instructed using auditory cues. These results describe a previously unreported function for neurons in the human left MFG in auditory processing contributing to motor control.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Acoustic Stimulation*
  • Adult
  • Auditory Cortex / physiopathology*
  • Brain-Computer Interfaces
  • Cues
  • Electrodes, Implanted
  • Frontal Lobe / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Microelectrodes
  • Movement / physiology*
  • Neurons / physiology
  • Prefrontal Cortex / physiopathology*
  • Quadriplegia / physiopathology*
  • Self-Help Devices