Learned self-regulation of the lesioned brain with epidural electrocorticography

Alireza Gharabaghi, Georgios Naros, Fatemeh Khademi, Jessica Jesser, Martin Spüler, Armin Walter, Martin Bogdan, Wolfgang Rosenstiel, Niels Birbaumer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: Different techniques for neurofeedback of voluntary brain activations are currently being explored for clinical application in brain disorders. One of the most frequently used approaches is the self-regulation of oscillatory signals recorded with electroencephalography (EEG). Many patients are, however, unable to achieve sufficient voluntary control of brain activity. This could be due to the specific anatomical and physiological changes of the patient’s brain after the lesion, as well as to methodological issues related to the technique chosen for recording brain signals.

Methods: A patient with an extended ischemic lesion of the cortex did not gain volitional control of sensorimotor oscillations when using a standard EEG-based approach. We provided him with neurofeedback of his brain activity from the epidural space by electrocorticography (ECoG).

Results: Ipsilesional epidural recordings of field potentials facilitated self-regulation of brain oscillations in an online closed-loop paradigm and allowed reliable neurofeedback training for a period of 4 weeks.

Conclusion: Epidural implants may decode and train brain activity even when the cortical physiology is distorted following severe brain injury. Such practice would allow for reinforcement learning of preserved neural networks and may well provide restorative tools for those patients who are severely afflicted.

Original languageEnglish
Article number429
JournalFrontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience
Issue numberDEC
Publication statusPublished - Dec 9 2014


  • Brain-machine interface
  • Cortical lesion
  • Electrocorticography
  • Epidural implant
  • Neurofeedback
  • Neuroprosthetics
  • Stroke

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology


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