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Computational Intelligence and Neuroscience
Volume 2007 (2007), Article ID 51363, 9 pages
Research Article

A Concept for Extending the Applicability of Constraint-Induced Movement Therapy through Motor Cortex Activity Feedback Using a Neural Prosthesis

1Department of Electronic Engineering, National University of Ireland, Maynooth, County Kildare, Ireland
2Department of Computer Science and Department of Experimental Physics, National University of Ireland, Maynooth, County Kildare, Ireland
3Hamilton Institute, National University of Ireland, Maynooth, County Kildare, Ireland
4Department of Computer Science, National University of Ireland, Maynooth, County Kildare, Ireland

Received 17 February 2007; Revised 11 May 2007; Accepted 14 July 2007

Academic Editor: Fabio Babiloni

Copyright © 2007 Tomas E. Ward et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


This paper describes a concept for the extension of constraint-induced movement therapy (CIMT) through the use of feedback of primary motor cortex activity. CIMT requires residual movement to act as a source of feedback to the patient, thus preventing its application to those with no perceptible movement. It is proposed in this paper that it is possible to provide feedback of the motor cortex effort to the patient by measurement with near infrared spectroscopy (NIRS). Significant changes in such effort may be used to drive rehabilitative robotic actuators, for example. This may provide a possible avenue for extending CIMT to patients hitherto excluded as a result of severity of condition. In support of such a paradigm, this paper details the current status of CIMT and related attempts to extend rehabilitation therapy through the application of technology. An introduction to the relevant haemodynamics is given including a description of the basic technology behind a suitable NIRS system. An illustration of the proposed therapy is described using a simple NIRS system driving a robotic arm during simple upper-limb unilateral isometric contraction exercises with healthy subjects.