Closed-Loop Neural Engineering Approaches to Motor Rehabilitation
Mogen, Brian Joseph
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Here I present several approaches to applying engineering design principles to the central nervous system with the goal of using closed-loop approaches to enhance rehabilitative processes. These approaches cover invasive access to the brain and spinal cord, as well as physical rehabilitation techniques that employ closed loop principles for direct clinical utility. Targeted plasticity in the motor cortex was induced in a nonhuman primate model using paired electrical stimulation. This stimulation produced robust changes in a subset of tested sites and conformed to the predicted changes following Hebb’s framework of spike-timing dependent plasticity. Novel electrode access to the cervical spinal cord allows for targeting of hand and arm motor pools. I designed, fabricated, tested, and iterated on two approaches to access the ventral aspect of the spinal cord to directly stimulate arm movement using targeted electrical stimulation with the goal of creating robust, de-fatiguing motor outputs from a stable stimulation site. Finally, I architected a closed-loop rehabilitation platform that directly measures hand and arm function, uses those measurements to control engaging gameplay in a digital environment, and quantify the quality of movement created by the user with the goal of making long term rehabilitation fun, accurate, and engaging for the end user. These approaches taken together represent a comprehensive approach to closed-loop motor rehabilitation.
- Bioengineering