Our first goal is to develop a new tool to determine brain activity with a high temporal (< 1 msec) and spatial (about 2 mm) resolution with the focus on motor control. High density EEG (up to 256 electrodes) will be used for EEG source localization. Advanced force-controlled robot manipulators will be used to impose continuous force perturbations to the joints. Advanced closed-loop system identification algorithms will identify the dynamic EEG response of multiple brain areas to the perturbation, leading to a functional interpretation of EEG. The propagation of the signal in time and 3D space through the cortex can be monitored: 4D-EEG. Preliminary experiments with EEG localization have shown that the continuous force perturbations resulted in a better signal-to-noise ratio and coherence than the current method using transient perturbations..
4D-EEG will be a direct measure of the neural activity in the brain with an excellent temporal response and easy to use in combination with motor control tasks. The new 4D-EEG method is expected to provide a breakthrough in comparison to functional MRI (fMRI) when elucidating the meaning of cortical map plasticity in motor learning.
Our second goal is to generate and validate new hypotheses about the longitudinal relationship between motor learning and cortical map plasticity by clinically using 4D-EEG in an intensive, repeated measurement design in patients suffering from a stroke. The application of 4D-EEG combined with haptic robots will allow us to discover how dynamics in cortical map plasticity are related with upper limb recovery after stroke in terms of neural repair and using behavioral compensation strategies while performing a meaningful motor tasks.. The non-invasive 4D-EEG technique combined with haptic robots will open the window about what and how patients (re)learn when showing motor recovery after stroke in order to allow us to develop more effective patient-tailored therapies in neuro-rehabilitation.
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Funding SchemeERC-AG - ERC Advanced Grant