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Towards a mechanistic approach for the development of non-invasive brain-computer interfaces for motor rehabilitation

  • Natalie, M-K
  • Ibanez Pereda, J
  • Dario, F
Publication Date
Mar 08, 2021
Spiral - Imperial College Digital Repository


Brain‐computer interfaces (BCIs) designed for motor rehabilitation use brain signals associated with motor‐processing states to guide neuroplastic changes in a state‐dependent manner. These technologies are uniquely positioned to induce targeted and functionally relevant plastic changes in the human motor nervous system. However, while several studies have shown that BCI‐based neuromodulation interventions may improve motor function in patients with lesions in the central nervous system, the neurophysiological structures and processes targeted with the BCI interventions have not been identified. In this review, we first summarize current knowledge of the changes in the central nervous system associated with learning new motor skills. Then, we propose a classification of current BCI paradigms for plasticity induction and motor rehabilitation based on the expected neural plastic changes promoted. This classification proposes four paradigms based on two criteria: the plasticity induction methods and the brain states targeted. The existing evidence regarding the brain circuits and processes targeted with these different BCIs is discussed in detail. The proposed classification aims to serve as a starting point for future studies trying to elucidate the underlying plastic changes following BCI interventions.

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