Objective To evaluate the feasibility of brain-computer interface (BCI)-assisted motor imagery training to support hand/arm motor rehabilitation after stroke during hospitalization. Design Proof-of-principle study. Setting Neurorehabilitation hospital. Participants Convenience sample of patients (N=8) with new-onset arm plegia or paresis caused by unilateral stroke. Interventions The BCI-based intervention was administered as an "add-on" to usual care and lasted 4 weeks. Under the supervision of a therapist, patients were asked to practice motor imagery of their affected hand and received as a discrete feedback the movements of a "virtual" hand superimposed on their own. Such a BCI-based device was installed in a rehabilitation hospital ward. Main Outcome Measures Following a user-centered design, we assessed system usability in terms of motivation, satisfaction (by means of visual analog scales), and workload (National Aeronautics and Space Administration-Task Load Index). The usability of the BCI-based system was also evaluated by 15 therapists who participated in a focus group. Results All patients successfully accomplished the BCI training. Significant positive correlations were found between satisfaction and motivation (P=.001, r=.393). BCI performance correlated with interest (P=.027, r=.257) and motivation (P=.012, r=.289). During the focus group, professionals positively acknowledged the opportunity offered by BCI-assisted training to measure patients' adherence to rehabilitation. Conclusions An ecological BCI-based device to assist motor imagery practice was found to be feasible as an add-on intervention and tolerable by patients who were exposed to the system in the rehabilitation environment.
- Brain-computer interfaces
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation