Brain-Computer Interfaces for Functional Recovery from Brain Injury


To increase functional recovery in damaged areas of the brain using implantable electrical stimulators

Anticipated Impact: 

Enhanced recovery of function following stroke and brain injury


Recovery from brain damage due to a stroke, traumatic brain injury or epilepsy presents a struggle for thousands of patients in Washington State and millions of people throughout the world. Electrical stimulation of the brain, which promotes long-term changes in nerve activity, could potentially be a new treatment for advancing recovery in individuals suffering from brain impairment. The investigators will use implantable electric stimulators to more effectively and continuously stimulate the brain's outer region or cortex. The team will develop and test minimally invasive techniques meant to enhance the clinical application of the implantable electric stimulators. Parallel studies will be conducted in animal models and human subjects using a neurochip to develop more effective delivery of therapeutic brain stimulation. The potential for translation and use in clinical settings could have a wide-ranging impact for Washingtonians with neurological disorders and those recovering from, or managing, chronic brain-deterioration disease.

See also:

Stroke Management
Epilepsy Management

Grant Update

Principal Investigator:
Eberhard Fetz
Grantee Organization:
University of Washington
Grant Title:
Brain-computer interfaces for functional recovery from brain injury
Grant Cohort and Year:
2008 Innovative Research Projects to Improve Health and Health Care (01)
Grant Period:
12/20/2008 - 12/19/2012 (Completed)
Grant Amount:
Collaborating Organizations:
Washington State University
We have made significant progress in meeting the goals of our LSDF project, namely to develop effective recurrent brain-computer interfaces [R-BCI] that would have clinical applications. The R-BCI involves an autonomous miniature computer that records neural activity and converts it to activity-dependent stimulation of brain or spinal cord during free behavior. One application that we have investigated involves recording activity of motor cortical sites and stimulating another site, to produce plastic changes in their connectivity and interaction. We have also shown that muscle activity can be used to trigger cortical stimulation and to modify the strength of intracortical neural connections. A second application has used activity of corticospinal neurons to stimulate spinal cord near their site of termination. This produced clear changes in the strength of corticospinal connections of single neurons, directly confirming the ability of the R-BCI to produce plastic changes in neural connections. A next-generation R-BCI is being developed that will provide the ability to detect patterns of neural activity in multiple channels and generate contingent stimulation patterns. The R-BCI paradigm has also been investigated in a clinical setting with human patients.

Impact in Washington

Location of LSDF Grantee
Locations of Collaborations/Areas of Impact

Legislative Districts:
9, 11, 34, 36, 37, 43, 46

Health Impacts

Stroke Management
Epilepsy Management