Success in locomotor rehabilitation programs can be improved with the use of brain-computer interfaces (BCIs). Although a wealth of research has demonstrated that locomotion is largely controlled by spinal mechanisms, the brain is of utmost importance in monitoring locomotor patterns and therefore contains information regarding central pattern generation functioning. In addition, there is also a tight coordination between the upper and lower limbs, which can also be useful in controlling locomotion. The current paper critically investigates different approaches that are applicable to this field: the use of electroencephalogram (EEG), upper limb electromyogram (EMG), or a hybrid of the two neurophysiological signals to control assistive exoskeletons used in locomotion based on programmable central pattern generators (PCPGs) or dynamic recurrent neural networks (DRNNs). Plantar surface tactile stimulation devices combined with virtual reality may provide the sensation of walking while in a supine position for use of training brain signals generated during locomotion. These methods may exploit mechanisms of brain plasticity and assist in the neurorehabilitation of gait in a variety of clinical conditions, including stroke, spinal trauma, multiple sclerosis, and cerebral palsy.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology