December 5, 2022

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Restoring speech ability in LIS patients with BCIs

Restoring speech ability in LIS patients with BCIs

The so-called closing syndrome (LIS), is a condition in which a patient’s communication skills, including speech, are severely limited. This can be caused, for example, by ALS. The purpose of its development after Brain computer interfaces The consortium, is to decode the speech of LIS patients in real time. This should contribute to helping these patients break out of their isolation.

Loss of speech due to LIS

Motor neurone disorders, trauma or stroke can cause patients to lose complete control of their muscles. This leads to lock-down syndrome, or LIS. In this case, the patient becomes completely paralyzed, as a result of which he is unable to communicate despite his consciousness.

This is, of course, an unbearable frightening situation. Patients’ quality of life is poor and the condition represents a heavy burden of care – not only for patients, but also for family and caregivers, said lead researcher Nick Ramsey.

BCIs . implantation

Within the so-called INTERCOM project, which stands for “intracranial neurotelemetry for restoring communication,” researchers want to bring LIS patients out of their isolation by restoring communication skills. This should be accomplished using a new, fully implantable brain-computer interface technology. Two BCIs being developed for this purpose are being developed and tested in Utrecht and Graz.

BCIs should make it possible to decode speech at home and in real time. “Our BCI system will go beyond current technology. We want to create a sustainable, high-fidelity BCI by combining the latest hardware and software based on artificial intelligence (AI),” Ramsay said.

The project coordinator is the RIBS Laboratory at UMC Utrecht. The research group collaborates with the Graz University of Technology (Austria), the Wyss Center for Bioengineering and Neuroscience (Switzerland) and Cortec Neuro (Germany).

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The European Innovation Council supports visionary and entrepreneurial researchers who have bold ideas for radically new technologies. The so-called EIC Pathfinder Challenge has been prepared for this purpose. EIC-supported projects and partnerships generally fall into the high-risk/high-reward category.

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