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Interaction of BCI with the underlying neurological conditions in patients: pros and cons

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889194896 Year: Pages: 129 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88919-489-6 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Neurology --- Science (General)
Added to DOAB on : 2015-11-16 15:44:59
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The primary purpose of Brain Computer Interface (BCI) systems is to help patients communicate with their environment or to aid in their recovery. A common denominator for all BCI patient groups is that they suffer from a neurological deficit. As a consequence, BCI systems in clinical and research settings operate with control signals (brain waves) that could be substantially altered compared to brain waves of able-bodied individuals. Most BCI systems are built and tested on able-bodied individuals, being insufficiently robust for clinical applications. The main reason for this is a lack of systematic analysis on how different neurological problems affect the BCI performance. Neurological problems interfering with BCI performance are either a direct cause of a disability (e.g. stroke, autism, epilepsy ) or secondary consequences of a disability, often overlooked in design of BCI systems (chronic pain, spasticity and antispastic drugs, loss of cognitive functions, drowsiness, medications which are increasing/decreasing brain activity in certain frequency range) . While some of these deficits may decrease the performance of a BCI, others may potentially improve its performance compared to BCI tested on a healthy population (e.g. overactivation of motor cortex in patients with Central neuropathic pain (CNP), increased alpha activity in some patient groups). Depending on the neurological condition, a prolonged modulation of brain waves through BCI might produce both positive or detrimental effects. Thus some BCI protocols might be more suitable for a short term use (e.g. rehabilitation of movement) while the others would be more suitable for a long term use. Prolonged self-regulation of brain oscillation through BCI could potentially be used as a treatment for aberrant brain connections for conditions ranging from motor deficits to Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). Currently, ASD is an increasingly prevalent condition in the U.S. with core deficits in imitation learning, language, empathy, theory of mind, and self-awareness. Understanding its neuroetiology is not only critical and necessary but should provide relevant insights into the relationship between neuroanatomy, physiology and behaviour. In this Research Topic we welcome studies of the highest scientific quality highlighting how BCI systems based on different principles (SSVEP, P300, slow cortical potential, auditory potential, operant conditioning, etc) interact with the underlying neurological problems and how performance of these BCI system differ compared to similar systems tested on healthy individuals. We also welcome studies defining signatures of neurological disorders and proposing BCI based treatments. We expect to generate a body of knowledge valuable both to researchers working with clinical populations, but also to a vast majority of BCI researchers testing new algorithms on able-bodied people. This should lead towards more robust or tailor-made BCI protocols, facilitating translation of research from laboratories to the end users.

The Interaction of Focus, Givenness, and Prosody: A Study of Italian Clause Structure

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Book Series: Oxford Studies in Theoretical Linguistics ISBN: 9780198737926 Year: Pages: 352 DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198737926.001.0001 Language: English
Publisher: Oxford University Press Grant: University College London
Subject: Linguistics
Added to DOAB on : 2016-04-21 11:01:13
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This book provides an in-depth investigation of contrastive focalization in Italian, showing that its syntactic expression is systematically affected by the syntactic expression of discourse-givenness. The proposed analysis disentangles the properties genuinely associated with contrastive focalization from those determined by the most productive operations affecting discourse given phrases at the right periphery, namely right dislocation and marginalization. On this basis, it shows that in the default case contrastive focalization occurs in situ and that instances of left-peripheral focalization only arise when focus obligatorily evacuates a larger right-dislocating phrase, giving rise to a distribution of leftward-moved foci that generalizes well beyond the cases examined in Rizzi (1997) and most literature since. In its final chapter, the book examines the syntax–prosody interface, showing how focalization in situ and other key properties follow from the prosodic constraints governing stress placement, thus reinterpreting and extending Zubizarreta’s (1998) analysis of p-movement and the role of prosody in shaping syntax. Overall, this book offers an evidence-backed radical departure from current views of focalization based on a fixed focus projection at the left periphery of the clause. It also provides the most comprehensive study of Italian marginalization and right dislocation available to date.

Using neurophysiological signals that reflect cognitive or affective state

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889196135 Year: Pages: 314 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88919-613-5 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Science (General) --- Neurology
Added to DOAB on : 2016-08-16 10:34:25
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What can we learn from spontaneously occurring brain and other physiological signals about an individual’s cognitive and affective state and how can we make use of this information? One line of research that is actively involved with this question is Passive Brain-Computer-Interfaces (BCI). To date most BCIs are aimed at assisting patients for whom brain signals could form an alternative output channel as opposed to more common human output channels, like speech and moving the hands. However, brain signals (possibly in combination with other physiological signals) also form an output channel above and beyond the more usual ones: they can potentially provide continuous, online information about an individual’s cognitive and affective state without the need of conscious or effortful communication. The provided information could be used in a number of ways. Examples include monitoring cognitive workload through EEG and skin conductance for adaptive automation or using ERPs in response to errors to correct for a behavioral response. While Passive BCIs make use of online (neuro)physiological responses and close the interaction cycle between a user and a computer system, (neuro)physiological responses can also be used in an offline fashion. Examples of this include detecting amygdala responses for neuromarketing, and measuring EEG and pupil dilation as indicators of mental effort for optimizing information systems. The described field of applied (neuro)physiology can strongly benefit from high quality scientific studies that control for confounding factors and use proper comparison conditions. Another area of relevance is ethics, ranging from dubious product claims, acceptance of the technology by the general public, privacy of users, to possible effects that these kinds of applications may have on society as a whole. In this Research Topic we aimed to publish studies of the highest scientific quality that are directed towards applications that utilize spontaneously, effortlessly generated neurophysiological signals (brain and/or other physiological signals) reflecting cognitive or affective state. We especially welcomed studies that describe specific real world applications demonstrating a significant benefit compared to standard applications. We also invited original, new kinds of (proposed) applications in this area as well as comprehensive review articles that point out what is and what is not possible (according to scientific standards) in this field. Finally, we welcomed manuscripts on the ethical issues that are involved. Connected to the Research Topic was a workshop (held on June 6, during the Fifth International Brain-Computer Interface Meeting, June 3-7, 2013, Asilomar, California) that brought together a diverse group of people who were working in this field. We discussed the state of the art and formulated major challenges, as reflected in the first paper of the Research Topic.

Immune Interactions during the Reproductive Cycle

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889195640 Year: Pages: 158 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88919-564-0 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Allergy and Immunology --- Medicine (General)
Added to DOAB on : 2016-01-19 14:05:46
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Mammalian pregnancy represents a unique immunological riddle in that the mother does not reject her allogeneic fetus. In part this is largely due to a general sequestration or diminution of T cell activity, and an increased involvement of the innate immune system. The field of immunology is concerned primarily with how innate and adaptive mechanisms collaborate to protect vertebrates from infection. Although many cellular and molecular actors have evidently important roles, antibodies and lymphocytes are considered to be the principal players. Yet despite their importance, it would be definitely simplistic to conclude that they are solely essential for immunity overall. A major distinction between adaptive and innate immunity is the spontaneity of the innate immune response, which utilizes an already pre-existing but limited repertoire of responding modules. The slower onset of adaptive immunity compensates by its ability to recognize a much broader repertory of foreign substances, and also by its power to constantly improve during a response, whereas innate immunity remains relatively unaffected. The interactions between the reproductive system and the immune system are of particular interest, since the reproductive system is unique in that its primary role is to assure the continuity of the species, while the immune system provides internal protection and thus facilitates continued health and survival. The modus operandi of these two morphologically diffuse systems involves widely distributed chemical signals in response to environmental input, and both systems must interact for the normal functioning of each. Furthermore, dysregulation of normal physiological interactions between the reproductive and immune systems can lead to severe pregnancy-related disorders or complications. On the other hand, by ameliorating auto-inflammatory conditions such as MS and RA, pregnancy may provide a unique insight into novel immune modulatory strategies. The scientific focus on reproductive–immune research has historically provided substantial insight into the interface between these two physiological systems. A translational research approach would involve a tight interaction between diverse scientific and clinical disciplines including immunology, obstetrics, haematology, haemostasis and endocrinology. With so much recent progress in the field, we believe that it is valuable and well-timed to review the broad variety of the relevant physiologic and pathologic aspects – from menstruation to fertilization and implantation, and from placentation and pregnancy per se to the post partum condition - in which the immune system takes part. We are looking forward to a wide and vivid discussion of these and related issues, and we sincerely expect that our readers profoundly benefit from new exciting insights and fruitful collaborations.

Mind over brain, brain over mind: cognitive causes and consequences of controlling brain activity

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889194889 Year: Pages: 134 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88919-488-9 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Neurology --- Science (General)
Added to DOAB on : 2016-04-07 11:22:02
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This Research Topic combines articles aiming to gain a better understanding on different factors that determine whether people are successful or not in controlling computerized devices with brain signals. Since decades, technological advancements in neuroscience allow the interpretation of brain signals and their translation into control messages (Brain-computer interface (BCI)). Moreover, the control of brain signals can be used to induce changes in cognition and behavior (Neurofeedback (NF)). However, the break-through of this technology for the broad population in real-world applications has not yet arrived. Various factors have been related to the individual success in controlling computerized devices with brain signals, but to date, no general theoretical framework is available. In this Research Topic, aspects of the training protocol such as instructions, task and feedback as well as cognitive and psychological traits such as motivation, mood, locus of control and empathy are investigated as determinants of BCI or NF performance. Moreover, the mechanisms and networks involved in gaining and maintaining control over brain activity as well as its prediction are addressed. Finally, as the ultimate goal of this research is to use BCI and NF for communication or control and therapy, respectively, novel applications for individuals with disabilities or disorders are discussed.

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