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European Journal of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine 2012 June;48(2):307-12

Copyright © 2012 EDIZIONI MINERVA MEDICA

language: English

Cortical plasticity and brain computer interface

Rossini P. M. 1, 2, Noris Ferilli M. A. 1, Ferreri F. 3, 4

1 Department of Neurology, Catholic University, Rome, Italy; 2 IRCCS S. Raffaele Pisana, Rome & Casa di Cura, S. Raffaele, Cassino, Frosinone, Italy; 3 Department of Neurology, University Campus Bio-Medico, Rome, Italy; 4 Clinical Neurophysiology, University of Eastern Finland, Kuopio, Finland


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There is increasing evidence to support the concept that adult brain has the remarkable ability to plastically reorganize itself. Brain plasticity involves distinct functional and structural components and plays a crucial role in reorganizing central nervous system’s networks after any lesion in order to partly or totally restore lost and/or compromised functions. The idea that a computer can decode brain electromagnetic signals to infer the intentions of a human and then enact those intentions directly through a machine is becoming a reasonable technical possibility. In neurological patients unable to move and to communicate with the external environment, technologies implementing brain-machine interfaces (BMIs) can be of valuable aid and support. The emerging possibility, through neuro-imaging advanced techniques, to clarify some crucial issues underlying brain plasticity will give the possibility to modulate these mechanisms in a BCI-oriented way. This approach may have a tremendous impact in a variety of neuropsychiatric disorders and the clinical advent of this technology will usher in a new era of restorative medicine.

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