Plasticity at the Brain-Computer Interface

author: Andrew Jackson, Institute of Neuroscience, Newcastle University
published: Aug. 10, 2009,   recorded: July 2009,   views: 794
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Description

Next generation recurrent Brain-Computer Interfaces will not only extract signals from cortical activity but also deliver feedback to the nervous system via electrical stimulation. For example, stimulation of cervical spinal segments can produce functional arm and hand movements such as reaching and grasping. We are developing new technologies including chronic electrodes and implantable electronic circuitry to control stimulation from cortical recordings, constituting an artificial corticospinal connection which could replace injured motor pathways. I will present evidence that the motor system can readily acquire the novel neuromotor transformations required to incorporate these connections into motor system function. In separate experiments we have shown that operation of artificial connections can potentiate new motor pathways via activity-dependent plasticity mechanisms. Together, these results suggest that recurrent BCIs have application not only as prostheses to replace function, but also as tools for manipulating plastic reorganisation to restore nervous system function following injury.

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