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.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience