Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis progression and stability of brain-computer interface communication

Stefano Silvoni, Marianna Cavinato, Chiara Volpato, Carolin A. Ruf, Niels Birbaumer, Francesco Piccione

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Our objective was to investigate the relationship between brain-computer interface (BCI) communication skill and disease progression in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). We sought also to assess stability of BCI communication performance over time and whether it is related to the progression of neurological impairment before entering the locked-in state. A three years follow-up, BCI evaluation in a group of ALS patients (n = 24) was conducted. For a variety of reasons only three patients completed the three years follow-up. BCI communication skill and disability level, using the Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Functional Rating Scale-Revised, were assessed at admission and at each of the three follow-ups. Multiple non-parametric statistical methods were used to ensure reliability of the dependent variables: correlations, paired test and factor analysis of variance. Results demonstrated no significant relationship between BCI communication skill (BCI-CS) and disease evolution. The patients who performed the follow-up evaluations preserved their BCI-CS over time. Patients' age at admission correlated positively with the ability to achieve control over a BCI. In conclusion, disease evolution in ALS does not affect the ability to control a BCI for communication. BCI performance can be maintained in the different stages of the illness.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)390-396
Number of pages7
JournalAmyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis and Frontotemporal Degeneration
Issue number5-6
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2013


  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
  • Brain-computer interface
  • Communication
  • Longitudinal
  • Stability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neurology

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