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We present here the integration of brain-computer interfacing (BCI) technology with functional electrical stimulation therapy to restore voluntary function. The system was tested with a single man with chronic (6 years) severe left hemiplegia resulting from a stroke. The BCI, implemented as a simple “brain-switch” activated by power decreases in the 18 Hz – 28 Hz frequency range of the participant’s electroencephalograpic signals, triggered a neuroprosthesis designed to facilitate forward reaching, reaching to the mouth, and lateral reaching movements. After 40 90-minute sessions in which the participant attempted the reaching tasks repeatedly, with the movements assisted by the BCI-triggered neuroprosthesis, the participant’s arm function showed a clinically significant six point increase in the Fugl-Meyer Asessment Upper Extermity Sub-Score. These initial results suggest that the combined use of BCI and functional electrical stimulation therapy may restore voluntary reaching function in individuals with chronic severe hemiplegia for whom the rehabilitation alternatives are very limited.
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