Researchers at University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, have found that a virtual reality platform that makes use of a sensorimotor rhythm-brain-computer interface can help in the rehabilitation of stroke victims by helping them reactivate damaged regions of their brain.
Researchers led by Alexander Doud tested the platform on a group of six patients, two survivors of cortical stroke and four survivors of basal ganglia stroke, along with a control group of four healthy people. All of the participants were given with 3-D anaglyph glasses that produced an illusion of seeing one's arms through the lid of the stimulus box and sent signals to a computer through electrodes, fitted to their heads, by using their imagination.
The researchers found that the patients were able to imagine reaching out for a glass of water with 81 percent accuracy after just three sessions of two hours each. The study has been presented at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions meeting in Texas.
"Using a brain-computer interface, we've created an environment where people who may be too physically impaired to move can practice mental imagery to help regain use of their arms and hands. his is an engaging system that encourages patients to practice using the areas of their brain that may have been damaged or weakened by their stroke, and the technology could be used along with commonly provided rehabilitation therapy for stroke", Doud said.