by José E. Martinez Rodriguez
Vansteensel et al. reported a new technique for communication that could be applied to oral-disabled patients. By implanting electrodes to read brain activity in the sensorimotor cortex, and an interface with a subcutaneous transmitter in the thorax, a patient with ALS was able to communicate wireless controlling a computer typing program. The procedure required surgical implantation under general anesthesia and a 28-week period to improve the decoding software, and control over patient’s brain signals. This approach could be an alternative method to eye tracker devices currently used in people with locked-in syndrome, although still at a slow rate of communication.
- Mariska J.Vansteensel, Elmar G.M. Pels, Martin G.Bleichner, et al. Fully implanted brain-computer interface in a locked-in patient with ALS. N Engl J Med 2016; 375: 2060-2066.
Dr. Jose E.Martínez-Rodríguez works at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, MS Unit, Neurology Department, Hospital del Mar, Barcelona, Spain and is assistant editor of EANpages.