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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Functional recovery from chronic writer’s cramp by brain-computer interface rehabilitation: a case report

Yasunari Hashimoto1*, Tetsuo Ota2, Masahiko Mukaino3, Meigen Liu4 and Junichi Ushiba5

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Kitami Institute of Technology, Hokkaido, Japan

2 Asahikawa Medical University Hospital, Hokkaido, Japan

3 Department of Rehabilitation Medicine I, School of Medicine, Fujita Health University, Aichi, Japan

4 Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, Keio University School of Medicine, Tokyo, Japan

5 Department of Biosciences and Informatics, Faculty of Science and Technology, Keio University, Kanagawa, Japan

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BMC Neuroscience 2014, 15:103  doi:10.1186/1471-2202-15-103

Published: 1 September 2014

Abstract

Background

Dystonia is often currently treated with botulinum toxin injections to spastic muscles, or deep brain stimulation to the basal ganglia. In addition to these pharmacological or neurosurgical measures, a new noninvasive treatment concept, functional modulation using a brain-computer interface, was tested for feasibility. We recorded electroencephalograms (EEGs) over the bilateral sensorimotor cortex from a patient suffering from chronic writer’s cramp. The patient was asked to suppress an exaggerated beta frequency component in the EEG during hand extension.

Results

The patient completed biweekly one-hour training for 5 months without any adverse effects. Significant decrease of the beta frequency component during handwriting was confirmed, and was associated with clear functional improvement.

Conclusion

The current pilot study suggests that a brain-computer Interface can give explicit feedback of ongoing cortical excitability to patients with dystonia and allow them to suppress exaggerated neural activity, resulting in functional recovery.

Keywords:
Neurorehabilitation; Neurofeedback; Upper extremity; Motor learning; Cortico-muscular coherence