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Results of a 3 years study of a BCI-based communicator for advanced ALS patients

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The Brain-Computer Interface (BCI) is the only available technology for patients in advanced ALS when eye-tracking based devices could be no longer used because of loss of gaze control. The BCI can convert brain electrical signals into commands able to control external devices without need of any voluntary movement.
Among different approaches of signal analysis, a recent BCI system, the BrainControl Basic Communicator (BC), based on event related de-synchronization (ERD) produced by motor imagery (MI), has been recently developed by Liquidweb s.r.l. and proposed in the current project.
The aim of this study was to verify the efficacy of the Braincontrol BC as an AAC device and to validate the training methodology with regards of ALS patients in locked-in state.
The study was conducted, from 2012 to 2015, on two groups: one of 34 ALS patients and another of 63 healthy users.
The results of this observation confirm that the device, after the first phase training, is efficient and robust for patients in advanced ALS state. Trainings have been completed succesfully for all the healthy users and ALS patients in initial and severe stage of the disease; only 2 of 34 patients located in the ALS patients group failed the training. In particular, these 2 patient were in completely locked-in state, in which cognitive status information where unknown.
After this study,17 locked-in patients, that really needs this technology, have continued to use the system as a communicator.

Author(s):

Pasquale Fedele    
LiquidWeb s.r.l.
Italy

Myriam Gioia    
LiquidWeb s.r.l.
Italy

 

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