Nowadays, the evaluation of cognitive abilities in patients at th

Nowadays, the evaluation of cognitive abilities in patients at the advanced stage of paralysis, such as ALS patients, still represents a challenge, due to the fact that all standard assessment tools for both verbal and nonverbal cognitive abilities involve a motor response. Besides, even tests relying on some form of rudimentary motor function such as blinking, nodding, or pointing (Anastasia and Urbina 1997), are not administrable to totally locked in patients. Iversen et al. (2008b), aimed at assessing some cognitive functions in

completely paralyzed ALS patients. Based on previous Inhibitors,research,lifescience,medical results showing that some late-stage ALS patients can learn to communicate with high accuracy using only their EEG (Kotchoubey et al. 1997; Pfurtscheller and Neuper 1997; Kubler et al. 2001b), they developed a slow-cortical potentials (SCP) EEG BCI. In a first study Inhibitors,research,lifescience,medical (Iversen et al. 2008a), training was applied to two severely paralyzed ALS patients, during which the patients could learn to control certain Inhibitors,research,lifescience,medical components of their EEG in order to direct the

movement of a visual symbol on a monitor. Following, a series of two-choice cognitive task were administered. For example, a noun and a verb were presented, one in each choice target, and the patients were given the verbal instruction to steer Inhibitors,research,lifescience,medical the cursor to the noun on each trial. Similarly, other tasks assessed basic abilities such as odd/even number discrimination and discrimination of larger/smaller numbers, with stimuli varying according to the level of complexity. Performance was also assessed using a matching-to-sample paradigm, which was used to examine the Inhibitors,research,lifescience,medical ability to discriminate numbers, letters, colors, and to perform simple calculations. In a successive study, Iversen et al. (2008b) employed the same SCP-EEG control in order to administrate a conditional-associative learning task to a late-stage ALS patient, testing the ability to learn arbitrary

associations among visual stimuli. In both studies, a good level of accuracy was observed in detecting patients performances, according to a within subjects experimental design. Patients were also able to understand the verbal instructions and to respond accordingly in the successive tasks. However, this method mafosfamide owns some important limitation: first, it requires an extensive pretraining in order to learn to control EEG, which can take some weeks; second, the method cannot be used for tasks based on recall or where a choice must be made among more than two stimuli. Differently from all other existing BCIs, in Everolimus solubility dmso P300-based BCIs learning of self-regulation of the brain response and feedback is not necessary. Moreover, the short latency of the P300 allows much faster selection of letters than any other BCI system.

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