The Lateral Sclerosis ( Als ) Is A Neurodegenerative Disease That Causes Loss Of Motor Neurons And Progressive Weakness

1476 Words Sep 11th, 2016 6 Pages
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a neurodegenerative disease that causes loss of motor neurons and progressive weakness including loss of speech(Wijesekera & Leigh, 2009). Its onset typically occurs in the sixth decade of life but rare instances can happen earlier. It can begin as bulbar onset which affects the voice, breathing and speech patterns or limb onset which can begin in the arms or legs (Wijesekera & Leigh, 2009). Roughly 90% of cases of ALS are sporadic and not linked to familial history of the disease(Wijesekera & Leigh, 2009). Once ALS starts it almost always progresses, eventually taking away the ability to walk, dress, write, speak, swallow, and breathe and shortening the life span. There is no treatment or cure for ALS, however there are a few drugs which have been able to slow the progression of the disease in some patients. As a result affected individuals become “locked in” and unable to communicate. These patients can benefit greatly from the use of a brain computer interface (BCI)(Birbaumer, 2006; Coyle, Ward, Markham, & McDarby, 2004).

BCI can help individuals communicate without relying on muscular control, which is critical for clinical populations of neuromuscular disease patients, such ALS (Wolpaw, 2002). The use of BCI can enable communication and increase quality of life but to date the effects of mental fatigue have been ignored. However, the current state of BCI technology and overall usability is not advanced enough to replace more…
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