Neurocognitive Training by means of a Motor Imagery-Based Brain Computer Interface in the Elderly
6th International Conference on Cognitive Neurodynamics
Año del Documento
Brain-computer interfaces (BCIs) have become not only a tool to provide communication and control for people with disabilities, but also a way to restore brain plasticity by inducing brain activity by means of neurofeedback training (NFT). In this regard, NFT has shown to be a suitable technique to control one’s own brain activity. We hypothesized that a well-designed NFT with a motor imagerybased BCI (MI-BCI) could enhance cognitive functions related to ageing effects. In this study, a MIBCI application was developed, designed and assessed to study the potential benefits in elderly people to slow down the effect of ageing. To assess the effectiveness of our MI-BCI application, a total of 63 subjects were recruited by the ‘Centro de Referencia Estatal (CRE) of San Andrés del Rabanedo (León, Spain). All subjects were older than 60 years, healthy, and with similar educational level. None of them had previous BCI experience (BCI-naives). Participants was randomly divided, taking into account age and gender, into a control group (32 subjects) and a NFT group (31 subjects). Our proposed application was only used by the NFT group (31 subjects). NFT effects were studied observing changes in the electroencephalogram (EEG) spectrum during resting by means of relative power (RP) measures, and also by the study of changes in different cognitive functions using the Luria Adult Neuropsychological Diagnosis (Luria-AND) test. Three frequency bands centered on 12, 18, and 21 Hz (bandwidth of 3 Hz) were selected for the training and, then, to assess EEG changes. Significant increases (p<0.01, Wilcoxon signed-rank test) in the RP of these frequency bands were found. Moreover, after performing five NFT session, results from Luria-AND test showed significant improvements (p<0.01, Wilcoxon signed-rank test) in the NFT group in four cognitive functions: visuospatial, oral language, memory, and intellectual. These results further support the association between NFT and the enhancement of cognitive performance, as well as it opens the opportunity of designing new NFT based on motor imagery strategies. Therefore, this novel approach could lead to new means to help elderly people by slowing down the effect of ageing.
Grants TEC2014-53196-R (Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad and FEDER), VA037U16 (Consejería de Educación de Castilla y León).