Definition of the line

Neural information can be used to drive prosthetic devices or directly stimulate nerves / muscles. These neural interfaces are aimed at restoring or augmenting lost sensory-motor functions in humans. This means building a connection of technology with biology to replicate and restore the human natural sensory-motor control loop. On top of that, physiological theories are needed to explain, predict and control such loop. Current challenges in the field involve decoding impaired neural information and acting accordingly to restore / assist weakened or partially lost movements using minimally invasive interfaces.

History/expertise of the group in this line

Since 2018, our team is in the unique position to study and apply neural engineering techniques (such as neuroprostheses) in essential tremor and Parkinson’s disease patients . We have run dozens of experiments as part of a collaborative work with Dr. Francisco Grandas (who leads the Movement Disorders Unit at Gregorio Marañón General University Hospital), in the framework of the EXTEND and AI4HA projects.

Related Projects

Our lab also studies how humans react to personalized fusion of electrical and robotic assistance and other multisensory signals for feedback. Since 2010 we have had a sustained cooperation to explore such fusion of neuromuscular and spinal stimulation with robotics to restore function in patients with spinal cord lesions under the Associated Unit ‘Neurorehabilitation, Biomechanics and Sensorimotor Function’ of the National Spinal Cord Injury Hospital to the Cajal Institute. With this approach we have demonstrated how hybrid approaches can provide personalized assistance to improve the motion patterns in neurological patients. In this line we also have explored diverse techniques to assess different levels of human response using biomechanical, physiological, brain recordings and subjective ratings to analyze usability of new neural technologies.

Relevant papers

Pascual-Valdunciel, A., González-Sánchez, M., Muceli, S., Adán-Barrientos, B., Escobar-Segura, V., Pérez-Sánchez, J. R., … & Barroso, F. O. (2020). Intramuscular stimulation of muscle afferents attains prolonged tremor reduction in essential tremor patients. IEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering, 68(6), 1768-1776.

Pascual Valdunciel, A., Kurukuti, N. M., Montero Pardo, C., Barroso, F. O., & Pons, J. L. (2022). Modulation of spinal circuits following phase-dependent electrical stimulation of afferent pathways. Journal of Neural Engineering.

J-del-Ama, A., Comino-Suarez, N., Martinez-Martin, J., Gil-Agudo, Á., Moreno, J. C., & Spaich, E. G. (2022). Pilot study on the combination of robotic gait training with stimulation of the withdrawal reflex in patients with spinal cord injury. Artificial Organs, 46(3), E103-E105. (link)

Del-Ama, A. J., Gil-Agudo, Á., Pons, J. L., & Moreno, J. C. (2014). Hybrid FES-robot cooperative control of ambulatory gait rehabilitation exoskeleton. Journal of neuroengineering and rehabilitation, 11(1), 1-15.

Pascual-Valdunciel, A., Hoo, G. W., Avrillon, S., Barroso, F. O., Goldman, J. G., Hernandez-Pavon, J. C., & Pons, J. L. (2021). Peripheral electrical stimulation to reduce pathological tremor: a review. Journal of neuroengineering and rehabilitation, 18(1), 1-19.

Main researchers

Dr. Filipe Barroso
Dr. Juan C. Moreno