Brain-Computer-Interphase for people in minimally conscious state
By means of EEG and NIRS (near-infrared spectroscopy) supported by PROCESSWORK and Music
Finally after one and a half year of preparation our 3-year research project “CoMiCon” was approved and sponsored by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).
Prof. Dr. Niels Birbaumer, an internally well-known medical psychologist and neuroscientist , and his team of the Institute for Medical Psychology and Behavioural Neurobiology ” from University of Tübingen, Germany, to whom also Prof. Dr. Boris Kotchoubey belongs, continue their years long research of brain computer interfaces (BCI). Birbaumer and his team managed to establish a yes-/no-communication in people with completely locked-in syndrome with means of a combination of infra-red-spectroscopy and electroencephalography. ALS patients in completely locked-in syndrome are completely aware but are not anymore able to use their eye movement to communicate as people with locked-in syndrome.
The objective of our current project is to investigate if this technology can be used to also establish yes-/no-communication with people in minimally conscious state (MCS). People in MCS show first, but fluctuating signs of everyday consciousness but are not able to communicate verbally.
In cooperation with two companies, NIRX Medical Technologies and Brain Products, the technology and user-friendlyness will be further developed so that the equipment can also be used by medical staff or relatives.
In the BDH-Clinic in Hessisch Oldendorf led by Prof. Dr. med. Jens Rollnik two other research scientists and I will work with people in minimally conscious state in this project. In the run-up to brain computer interaction patients will either listen to an especially composed music produced by Wolfgang Gleixner or supported by me as a specialist in processoriented coma work by Arnold Mindell.
How do the sleep-wake cycles of patients in MCS look like and can MCS patients semantically process language?
These are some of the first questions to explore in our preparation work of "CoMiCon" providing a Brain computer interface for MCS patients enabling them a yes-/no-communication.
Today we tested the sleep EEG and a N400-EEG-assessment for congruente and incongruente sentences presented via headphone.
In a few weeks we will be ready to present patients especially composed music or interventions from Process Oriented Psychology developed by Arnold Mindell, in order to support their vigilance and motivation to follow the Brain computer interface training.
NEUROSCIENCE MEETS PROCESSWORK !