Abstract: Elucidating the mechanisms behind BCI-FES therapeutic benefits
I am a Postdoc in the Biomedical Engineering department at UC Irvine, conducting research in the labs of Zoran Nenadic, Ph.D and David Reinkensmeyer, Ph.D. My project involves the use of brain computer interface (BCI) triggered functional electrical stimulation (FES) as a rehabilitative tool for recovering Stroke patients. BCIs are communication systems that record and decode brain electrophysiological signals in real time. This allows for direct neurological control of computer software, assistive devices, or rehabilitative stimulation elsewhere in the body (such as FES). BCIs have been used predominantly to aid patients who suffer from neurodegenerative diseases, spinal cord injury (SCI) or stroke. Of the >7 million stroke survivors in the US, 30%-60% present with post-stroke chronic gait impairments, primarily caused by foot drop and despite years of gait research, a treatment providing lasting neurological and functional improvements to foot drop gait impairments has yet to be developed. Our study compares BCI-FES therapy to other forms of conventional therapy to assess its neurological and functional benefits.