Rehabilitation of patients with cerebral palsy using hand exoskeleton controlled by brain-computer interface
Cerebral palsy (CP) is one of the most severe central nervous system diseases in childhood associated with motor impairment. The study was aimed to assess the efficiency of the complex comprising brain-computer interface (BCI) and hand exoskeleton as an instrument for the motor function recovery in patients with CP complementing the essential therapy. The Fugl-Meyer Assessment scale, ARAT test and Jebsen–Taylor function test were used in 14 children and adolescents for the motor function improvement assessment after the therapy complemented by 7–10 BCI-exoskeleton based procedures. The EEG mu-rhythm sources properties during the motor imagery BCI control were studied. After the procedures completion, the significant improvement of the Fugl-Meyer Assessment scale score (7 (2; 11) for hand active movements; 4.5 (1; 6) for proximal arm and 2.5 (0; 5) for hand), ARAT test score (7.5 (1; 31) for total score, 1.5 (0; 12) for grasp movement and 1.5 (0; 8) for grip movement), as well as significantly different from the zero execution time reduction in three out of seven Jabsen–Taylor function test items (–1 (–4.13; 0.25) for simulated feeding; –1 (–2; 0) for moving light and heavy cans) were identified. The average BCI detection level was 0.51 (0.45; 0.54) (max = 0.70). In most EEG recordings the mu-rhythm sources were detected, both for intact and affected hemispheres. The mu-rhythm desynchronization associated with motor imagery was observed, significantly affecting the BCI accuracy. The results obtained indicate that the use of BCI-exoskeleton complex effectively complements the standard rehabilitation methods for children with CP, and suggest that its clinical effectiveness in individuals with CP may be proven by enrollment of more patients.