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1.  Linking motor-related brain potentials and velocity profiles in multi-joint arm reaching movements 
The study of the movement related brain potentials (MRPBs) needs accurate technical approaches to disentangle the specific patterns of bran activity during the preparation and execution of movements. During the last forty years, synchronizing the electromyographic activation (EMG) of the muscle with electrophysiological recordings (EEG) has been commonly ussed for these purposes. However, new clinical approaches in the study of motor diseases and rehabilitation suggest the demand of new paradigms that might go further into the study of the brain activity associated with the kinematics of movements. As a response to this call, we have used a 3-D hand-tracking system with the aim to record continuously the position of an ultrasonic sender attached to the hand during the performance of multi-joint self-paced movements. We synchronized time-series of position and velocity of the sender with the EEG recordings, obtaining specific patterns of brain activity as a function of the fluctuations of the kinematics during natural movement performance. Additionally, the distribution of the brain activity during the preparation and execution phases of movements was similar that reported previously using the EMG, suggesting the validity of our technique. We claim that this paradigm could be usable in patients because of its simplicity and the potential knowledge that can be extracted from clinical protocols.
doi:10.3389/fnhum.2014.00271
PMCID: PMC4010756  PMID: 24808853
motor related brain potentials; 3-D movement analyser; time-series analysis; kinematics; self-paced movement; motor activity
2.  Conscious Brain-to-Brain Communication in Humans Using Non-Invasive Technologies 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(8):e105225.
Human sensory and motor systems provide the natural means for the exchange of information between individuals, and, hence, the basis for human civilization. The recent development of brain-computer interfaces (BCI) has provided an important element for the creation of brain-to-brain communication systems, and precise brain stimulation techniques are now available for the realization of non-invasive computer-brain interfaces (CBI). These technologies, BCI and CBI, can be combined to realize the vision of non-invasive, computer-mediated brain-to-brain (B2B) communication between subjects (hyperinteraction). Here we demonstrate the conscious transmission of information between human brains through the intact scalp and without intervention of motor or peripheral sensory systems. Pseudo-random binary streams encoding words were transmitted between the minds of emitter and receiver subjects separated by great distances, representing the realization of the first human brain-to-brain interface. In a series of experiments, we established internet-mediated B2B communication by combining a BCI based on voluntary motor imagery-controlled electroencephalographic (EEG) changes with a CBI inducing the conscious perception of phosphenes (light flashes) through neuronavigated, robotized transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), with special care taken to block sensory (tactile, visual or auditory) cues. Our results provide a critical proof-of-principle demonstration for the development of conscious B2B communication technologies. More fully developed, related implementations will open new research venues in cognitive, social and clinical neuroscience and the scientific study of consciousness. We envision that hyperinteraction technologies will eventually have a profound impact on the social structure of our civilization and raise important ethical issues.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0105225
PMCID: PMC4138179  PMID: 25137064
3.  Sensorimotor Plasticity after Music-Supported Therapy in Chronic Stroke Patients Revealed by Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(4):e61883.
Background
Several recently developed therapies targeting motor disabilities in stroke sufferers have shown to be more effective than standard neurorehabilitation approaches. In this context, several basic studies demonstrated that music training produces rapid neuroplastic changes in motor-related brain areas. Music-supported therapy has been recently developed as a new motor rehabilitation intervention.
Methods and Results
In order to explore the plasticity effects of music-supported therapy, this therapeutic intervention was applied to twenty chronic stroke patients. Before and after the music-supported therapy, transcranial magnetic stimulation was applied for the assessment of excitability changes in the motor cortex and a 3D movement analyzer was used for the assessment of motor performance parameters such as velocity, acceleration and smoothness in a set of diadochokinetic movement tasks. Our results suggest that the music-supported therapy produces changes in cortical plasticity leading the improvement of the subjects' motor performance.
Conclusion
Our findings represent the first evidence of the neurophysiological changes induced by this therapy in chronic stroke patients, and their link with the amelioration of motor performance. Further studies are needed to confirm our observations.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0061883
PMCID: PMC3629163  PMID: 23613966
4.  Plasticity in the sensorimotor cortex induced by Music-supported therapy in stroke patients: a TMS study 
Playing a musical instrument demands the engagement of different neural systems. Recent studies about the musician's brain and musical training highlight that this activity requires the close interaction between motor and somatosensory systems. Moreover, neuroplastic changes have been reported in motor-related areas after short and long-term musical training. Because of its capacity to promote neuroplastic changes, music has been used in the context of stroke neurorehabilitation. The majority of patients suffering from a stroke have motor impairments, preventing them to live independently. Thus, there is an increasing demand for effective restorative interventions for neurological deficits. Music-supported Therapy (MST) has been recently developed to restore motor deficits. We report data of a selected sample of stroke patients who have been enrolled in a MST program (1 month intense music learning). Prior to and after the therapy, patients were evaluated with different behavioral motor tests. Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) was applied to evaluate changes in the sensorimotor representations underlying the motor gains observed. Several parameters of excitability of the motor cortex were assessed as well as the cortical somatotopic representation of a muscle in the affected hand. Our results revealed that participants obtained significant motor improvements in the paretic hand and those changes were accompanied by changes in the excitability of the motor cortex. Thus, MST leads to neuroplastic changes in the motor cortex of stroke patients which may explain its efficacy.
doi:10.3389/fnhum.2013.00494
PMCID: PMC3759754  PMID: 24027507
stroke; music-supported therapy; music; plasticity; transcranial magnetic stimulation
5.  Prognostic value of cortically induced motor evoked activity by TMS in chronic stroke: Caveats from a revealing single clinical case 
BMC Neurology  2012;12:35.
Background
We report the case of a chronic stroke patient (62 months after injury) showing total absence of motor activity evoked by transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) of spared regions of the left motor cortex, but near-to-complete recovery of motor abilities in the affected hand.
Case presentation
Multimodal investigations included detailed TMS based motor mapping, motor evoked potentials (MEP), and Cortical Silent period (CSP) as well as functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) of motor activity, MRI based lesion analysis and Diffusion Tensor Imaging (DTI) Tractography of corticospinal tract (CST). Anatomical analysis revealed a left hemisphere subinsular lesion interrupting the descending left CST at the level of the internal capsule. The absence of MEPs after intense TMS pulses to the ipsilesional M1, and the reversible suppression of ongoing electromyographic (EMG) activity (indexed by CSP) demonstrate a weak modulation of subcortical systems by the ipsilesional left frontal cortex, but an inability to induce efficient descending volleys from those cortical locations to right hand and forearm muscles. Functional MRI recordings under grasping and finger tapping patterns involving the affected hand showed slight signs of subcortical recruitment, as compared to the unaffected hand and hemisphere, as well as the expected cortical activations.
Conclusions
The potential sources of motor voluntary activity for the affected hand in absence of MEPs are discussed. We conclude that multimodal analysis may contribute to a more accurate prognosis of stroke patients.
doi:10.1186/1471-2377-12-35
PMCID: PMC3411427  PMID: 22682434

Results 1-5 (5)