Background: Functional recovery of arm movement typically plateaus following a stroke, leaving chronic motor deficits. Brain-computer interfaces (BCI) may be a potential treatment for post-stroke deficits
Methods: In this n-of-1 trial (NCT03913286), a person with chronic subcortical stroke with upper-limb motor impairment used a powered elbow-wrist-hand orthosis that opened and closed the affected hand using cortical activity, recorded from a percutaneous BCI comprised of four microelectrode arrays implanted in the ipsilesional precentral gyrus, based on decoding of spiking patterns and high frequency field potentials generated by imagined hand movements. The system was evaluated in a home setting for 12 weeks
Results: Robust single unit activity, modulating with attempted or imagined movement, was present throughout the precentral gyrus. The participant acquired voluntary control over a hand-orthosis, achieving 10 points on the Action Research Arm Test using the BCI, compared to 0 without any device, and 5 using myoelectric control. Strength, spasticity, the Fugl-Meyer scores improved.
Conclusions: We demonstrate in a human being that ensembles of individual neurons in the cortex overlying a chronic supratentorial, subcortical stroke remain active and engaged in motor representation and planning and can be used to electrically bypass the stroke and promote limb function. The participant’s ability to rapidly acquire control over otherwise paralyzed hand opening, more than 18 months after a stroke, may justify development of a fully implanted movement restoration system to expand the utility of fully implantable BCI to a clinical population that numbers in the tens of millions worldwide.
Serruya, Mijail D.; Napoli, Alessandro; Satterthwaite, Nicholas; Kardine, Joe; McCoy, Joseph; Grampurohit, Namrata; Talekar, Kiran; Middleton, Devon M.; Mohamed, Feroze; Kogan, Michael; Sharan, Ashwini; Wu, Chengyuan; and Rosenwasser, Robert H., "Neuromotor prosthetic to treat stroke-related paresis: N-of-1 trial" (2022). Department of Neurology Faculty Papers. Paper 285.
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