Neurorehabilitation of hand functions using brain computer interface

Osuagwu, Bethel Chikadibia A. (2015) Neurorehabilitation of hand functions using brain computer interface. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Brain computer interface (BCI) is a promising new technology with possible application in neurorehabilitation after spinal cord injury. Movement imagination or attempted movement-based BCI coupled with functional electrical stimulation (FES) enables the simultaneous activation of the motor cortices and the muscles they control. When using the BCI- coupled with FES (known as BCI-FES), the subject activates the motor cortex using attempted movement or movement imagination of a limb. The BCI system detects the motor cortex activation and activates the FES attached to the muscles of the limb the subject is attempting or imaging to move. In this way the afferent and the efferent pathways of the nervous system are simultaneously activated. This simultaneous activation encourages Hebbian type learning which could be beneficial in functional rehabilitation after spinal cord injury (SCI). The FES is already in use in several SCI rehabilitation units but there is currently not enough clinical evidence to support the use of BCI-FES for rehabilitation.

The main aim of this thesis is to assess outcomes in sub-acute tetraplegic patients using BCI-FES for functional hand rehabilitation. In addition, the thesis explores different methods for assessing neurological rehabilitation especially after BCI-FES therapy. The thesis also investigated mental rotation as a possible rehabilitation method in SCI.

Following investigation into applicable methods that can be used to implement rehabilitative BCI, a BCI based on attempted movement was built. Further, the BCI was used to build a BCI-FES system. The BCI-FES system was used to deliver therapy to seven sub-acute tetraplegic patients who were scheduled to receive the therapy over a total period of 20 working days. These seven patients are in a 'BCI-FES' group. Five more patients were also recruited and offered equivalent FES quantity without the BCI. These further five patients are in a 'FES-only' group. Neurological and functional measures were investigated and used to assess both patient groups before and after therapy.

The results of the two groups of patients were compared. The patients in the BCI-FES group had better improvements. These improvements were found with outcome measures assessing neurological changes. The neurological changes following the use of the BCI-FES showed that during movement attempt, the activation of the motor cortex areas of the SCI patients became closer to the activation found in healthy individuals. The intensity of the activation and its spatial localisation both improved suggesting desirable cortical reorganisation. Furthermore, the responses of the somatosensory cortex during sensory stimulation were of clear evidence of better improvement in patients who used the BCI-FES. Missing somatosensory evoked potential peaks returned more for the BCI-FES group while there was no overall change in the FES-only group. Although the BCI-FES group had better neurological improvement, they did not show better functional improvement than the FES-only group. This was attributed mainly to the short duration of the study where therapies were only delivered for 20 working days.

The results obtained from this study have shown that BCI-FES may induce cortical changes in the desired direction at least faster than FES alone. The observation of better improvement in the patients who used the BCI-FES is a good result in neurorehabilitation and it shows the potential of thought-controlled FES as a neurorehabilitation tool. These results back other studies that have shown the potential of BCI-FES in rehabilitation following neurological injuries that lead to movement impairment. Although the results are promising, further studies are necessary given the small number of subjects in the current study.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Brain computer interface, BCI,functional electrical stimulation,FES,BCI-FES,hand,rehabilitation,neurorehabilitation,patient,tetraplegia,spinal cord injury,SCI,neuroplasticity,plasticity,somatosensory,brain,spinal cord,motor cortex, cortex,neurological,mental rotation,event related potential,ERD,ERS,Event related desynchronisation,event related synchronisation,sLORETA,time-frequency analysis,spatial pattern,classification,learning,hand function,EEG,electroencephalogram,MATLAB,common spatial patterns,EEGLAB.
Colleges/Schools: College of Science and Engineering > School of Engineering > Biomedical Engineering
Supervisor's Name: Vuckovic, Dr. Aleksandra and Gollee, Dr. Henrik
Date of Award: 2015
Depositing User: Mr Bethel Osuagwu
Unique ID: glathesis:2015-7245
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 23 May 2016 11:13
Last Modified: 12 Apr 2017 14:59

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