A computer interface that can decipher the thoughts of people who are unable to communicate could revolutionize the lives of those living with completely locked-in syndrome, according to a new paper publishing January 31st,2017 in PLOS.
Patients suffering from paralysis, but with preserved awareness, cognition, and eye movements and blinking are differentiating as having locked-in syndrome. If eye moments also lost, then condition is referred to as completely locked-in syndrome. In trial, patents with completely locked-in syndrome were able to respond “yes” or “no” to spoken questions, by thinking the answers. Non-invasive brain computer interface detected their responses by measuring changes in blood oxygen levels in the brain. The results overturn previous theories that people with completely locked in syndrome lack the goal-directed thinking necessary to the brain-computer interface and rare, therefore incapable of communication. Mostly investigations were carried out in four patients with ALS. It is progressive motor neuron disease that leads to the complete destruction of the part of nervous system. Researchers asked personal questions with known answers and open questions that needed yes or no answers. They found the questions elicited responses in seventy percent of trials.
Different researchers said “the striking results overturn my own theory that people with completely locked in syndrome are not competent of communication. They found that all four patients we tested were able to answer the personal questions we asked them, using their thoughts alone. If we can replicate this study in more patients, I believe we could restore useful communication in completely locked in states for people with motor neuron diseases”. The questions asked one time are repeated over weeks of questioning.
There were surprised that the positive responses when we questioned the four completely locked- in patients about the quality of life.