Behavioral and cortical effects during attention driven brain-computer interface operations in spatial neglect: A feasibility case study

During the last years, several studies have suggested that Brain-Computer Interface (BCI) can play a critical role in the field of motor rehabilitation. In this case report, we aim to investigate the feasibility of a covert visuospatial attention (CVSA) driven BCI in three patients with left spatial neglect (SN). We hypothesize that such a BCI is able to detect attention task-specific brain patterns in SN patients and can induce significant changes in their abnormal cortical activity (alpha-power modulation, feature recruitment, and connectivity). The three patients were asked to control online a CVSA BCI by focusing their attention at different spatial locations, including their neglected (left) space. As primary outcome, results show a significant improvement of the reaction time in the neglected space between calibration and online modalities (p < 0.01) for the two out of three patients that had the slowest initial behavioral response. Such an evolution of reaction time negatively correlates (p < 0.05) with an increment of the Individual alpha-Power computed in the pre-cue interval. Furthermore, all patients exhibited a significant reduction of the inter-hemispheric imbalance (p < 0.05) over time in the parieto-occipital regions. Finally, analysis on the inter-hemispheric functional connectivity suggests an increment across modalities for regions in the affected (right) hemisphere and decrement for those in the healthy. Although preliminary, this feasibility study suggests a possible role of BCI in the therapeutic treatment of lateralized, attention-based visuospatial deficits.

Published in:
Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 11, 336
Lausanne, Frontiers Research Foundation

 Record created 2017-07-13, last modified 2018-12-03

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