Skip to Main Content
Cerebellar ataxia is a steadily progressive neurodegenerative disease associated with loss of motor control, leaving patients unable to walk, talk, or perform activities of daily living. Direct motor instruction in cerebellar ataxia patients has limited effectiveness, presumably because an inappropriate closed-loop cerebellar response to the inevitable observed error confounds motor learning mechanisms. However, open-loop reinforcement of motor control programs may hold promise as a technique to improve motor performance. Recent studies have validated the age-old technique of employing motor imagery training (mental rehearsal of a movement) to boost motor performance in athletes, much as a champion downhill skier visualizes the course prior to embarking on a run. Could the use of EEG-based BCI provide advanced biofeedback to improve motor imagery and provide a “backdoor” to improving motor performance in ataxia patients? In order to determine the feasibility of using EEG-based BCI control in this population, we compare the ability to modulate mu-band power (8-12 Hz) by performing a cued motor imagery task in an ataxia patient and healthy control.
Date of Conference: April 27 2011-May 1 2011