Navigation Links
Technique for letting brain talk to computers now tunes in speech
Date:4/7/2011

Patients with a temporary surgical implant have used regions of the brain that control speech to "talk" to a computer for the first time, manipulating a cursor on a computer screen simply by saying or thinking of a particular sound.

"There are many directions we could take this, including development of technology to restore communication for patients who have lost speech due to brain injury or damage to their vocal cords or airway," says author Eric C. Leuthardt, MD, of Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

Scientists have typically programmed the temporary implants, known as brain-computer interfaces, to detect activity in the brain's motor networks, which control muscle movements.

"That makes sense when you're trying to use these devices to restore lost mobility the user can potentially engage the implant to move a robotic arm through the same brain areas he or she once used to move an arm disabled by injury," says Leuthardt, assistant professor of neurosurgery, of biomedical engineering and of neurobiology, "But that has the potential to be inefficient for restoration of a loss of communication."

Patients might be able to learn to think about moving their arms in a particular way to say hello via a computer speaker, Leuthardt explains. But it would be much easier if they could say hello by using the same brain areas they once engaged to use their own voices.

The research appears April 7 in The Journal of Neural Engineering.

The devices under study are temporarily installed directly on the surface of the brain in epilepsy patients. Surgeons like Leuthardt use them to identify the source of persistent, medication-resistant seizures and map those regions for surgical removal. Researchers hope one day to install the implants permanently to restore capabilities lost to injury and disease.

Leuthardt and his colleagues have recently revealed that the implants can be used to analyze the frequency of brain wave activity, allowing them to make finer distinctions about what the brain is doing. For the new study, Leuthardt and others applied this technique to detect when patients say or think of four sounds:

* oo, as in few
* e, as in see
* a, as in say
* a, as in hat

When scientists identified the brainwave patterns that represented these sounds and programmed the interface to recognize them, patients could quickly learn to control a computer cursor by thinking or saying the appropriate sound.

In the future, interfaces could be tuned to listen to just speech networks or both motor and speech networks, Leuthardt says. As an example, he suggests that it might one day be possible to let a disabled patient both use his or her motor regions to control a cursor on a computer screen and imagine saying "click" when he or she wants to click on the screen.

"We can distinguish both spoken sounds and the patient imagining saying a sound, so that means we are truly starting to read the language of thought," he says. "This is one of the earliest examples, to a very, very small extent, of what is called 'reading minds' detecting what people are saying to themselves in their internal dialogue."

The next step, which Leuthardt and his colleagues are working on, is to find ways to distinguish what they call "higher levels of conceptual information."

"We want to see if we can not just detect when you're saying dog, tree, tool or some other word, but also learn what the pure idea of that looks like in your mind," he says. "It's exciting and a little scary to think of reading minds, but it has incredible potential for people who can't communicate or are suffering from other disabilities."


'/>"/>

Contact: Michael C. Purdy
purdym@wustl.edu
314-286-0122
Washington University School of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. NYU Langone offers new imaging technique to advance robotic surgery for patients
2. Influence of pulp extraction technique on DPSCs quality and quantity
3. Innovative technique gives vision researchers insight into how people recognize faces
4. New laser technique opens doors for drug discovery
5. Surgical technique helps adult male survivors of childhood cancer regain fertility
6. John Theurer Cancer Center orthopedic oncologist shares new limb sparing surgical techniques
7. Study shows PRP, commonly used technique to improve healing, doesnt work in rotator cuff surgery
8. New techniques for stapling peptides could spur development of drugs for cancer
9. Minimally invasive technique appears helpful to reanimate facial paralysis
10. Less invasive techniques help manage complications of severe pancreatic disease
11. CTO summit and left main coronary interventions course will feature latest research and techniques
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:8/16/2017)... ... August 16, 2017 , ... ... through affiliations and de novo development, today announced Cumberland Skin Surgery and ... Skin Surgery and Dermatology, with offices in both Hermitage and Lebanon, Tennessee, provides ...
(Date:8/16/2017)... ... ... LabRoots , the leading provider of educational and interactive virtual events ... Andrew Ly as the winner of the LabRoots Summer Textbook scholarship, awarding him $1000 ... is in his third year at the University of California, Los Angeles majoring in ...
(Date:8/16/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... August 16, 2017 , ... Fusion Flix ... premium original programming over four countries and millions of viewers in a partnership with ... rent or buy On-Demand and fully available on Blu Ray disc in 2018. Proceeds ...
(Date:8/16/2017)... ... August 16, 2017 , ... ... new client win in the healthcare market, with Los Angeles-based AIDS Healthcare Foundation ... staff and members. , AHF cares for nearly 800,000 individuals worldwide and is ...
(Date:8/16/2017)... ... 2017 , ... Rollon Skin Care Ltd., one ... announced the launch of two new skincare products, Prache Antiaging Cream and Prache ... plastic surgery or in-patient cosmetic dermatological procedures. , “Prache Antiaging Cream and Prache ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:8/2/2017)... , Aug. 2, 2017 CaryRx, a next-generation ... day delivery service for patients in the Washington ... traditional retail pharmacy by providing delivery of medications through the ... for future delivery or delivered within one hour to any ... are excited to bring this invaluable service to ...
(Date:7/31/2017)... 7D Surgical, developer of ground breaking surgical navigation ... Surgical System to support its strategic sales plan in ... and Virginia.  7D Surgical has entered into an exclusive sales ... medical facilities within those markets. ... Spartan Medical Purchases ...
(Date:7/27/2017)... 2017  West Pharmaceutical Services, Inc. (NYSE: ... second-quarter 2017 and updated financial guidance for the full-year ... Highlights Reported net sales of $397.6 ... quarter. Net sales at constant currency (organic) grew by ... $0.51, compared to $0.60 in the prior-year quarter. Second-quarter ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: