Innovative neurofeedback approaches to gait and balance recovery after stroke

Takeaway

  • Functional near-infrared spectroscopy-mediated neurofeedback (fNIRS-NFB) targeting the supplementary motor area (SMA) may be an effective tool to aid gait and balance rehabilitation for stroke survivors.

Why this matters ?

  • Post-stroke gait and balance problems can persist despite rehabilitation. Following gait rehabilitation, 20 to 30% of stroke survivors remain unable to walk independently. Most improvement occurs in the first 3 months post-stroke.

  • fNIRS-NFB is an innovative neuromodulatory technique that provides patients with real-time brain activity feedback to aid rehabilitation activities. The technique works by selecting a desired region of the brain – for example, the SMA in the context of gait and balance rehabilitation – and visually displaying how much activity occurs in that region as the patient performs a motor imagery task.

  • fNIRS-NFB has not yet been trialed for rehabilitation of stroke survivors.