Case Study: Mapping Evoked Fields in Primary Motor and Sensory Areas via Magnetoencephalography in Tetraplegia

Front Neurol. 2021 Sep 24;12:739693. doi: 10.3389/fneur.2021.739693. eCollection 2021.


Devices interfacing with the brain through implantation in cortical or subcortical structures have great potential for restoration and rehabilitation in patients with sensory or motor dysfunction. Typical implantation surgeries are planned based on maps of brain activity generated from intact function. However, mapping brain activity for planning implantation surgeries is challenging in the target population due to abnormal residual function and, increasingly often, existing MRI-incompatible implanted hardware. Here, we present methods and results for mapping impaired somatosensory and motor function in an individual with paralysis and an existing brain-computer interface (BCI) device. Magnetoencephalography (MEG) was used to directly map the neural activity evoked during transcutaneous electrical stimulation and attempted movement of the impaired hand. Evoked fields were found to align with the expected anatomy and somatotopic organization. This approach may be valuable for guiding implants in other applications, such as cortical stimulation for pain and to improve implant targeting to help reduce the craniotomy size.

Keywords: brain–computer interfaces folds; magnetoencephalography; neuroprosthetics; paralysis; sensorimotor cortex.