Can Meditation Help Paralyzed People Sync Their Brains to Computers?11/11/13
SUNDAY, Nov. 10 (HealthDay News) -- Yoga and meditation may help
paralyzed people learn how to link their brain with a computer,
according to a new study.
Systems that connect brains with computers are increasingly used
to help patients with physical disabilities like paralysis. But the
length of training has been a major obstacle to success, study lead
author Bin He, director of the Center for Neuroengineering at the
University of Minnesota, said in a Society for Neuroscience news
"This research tells us that we can significantly cut this time with practices like yoga and meditation to make these tools more successful for more patients who need these devices," He said.
The study was scheduled for presentation this weekend at the
annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience, in San Diego.
Researchers studied 12 people who practiced techniques such as
yoga and meditation and a control group of 19 people who did not.
All of the participants were trained to use an
electroencephalography-based brain computer program, which used
sensors on the scalp to pick up electrical impulses from the
The volunteers imagined moving their hands, and the computer
program translated that brain activity into the movement of a
cursor on the computer screen.
The participants who practiced yoga and meditation learned the
brain-computer interface faster than the control group. Also, 75
percent of them became competent with the program, compared to 42
percent of people in the control group.
The researchers said their findings suggest that training in
yoga and meditation techniques could help people master the
computer-assisted technology in order to help them regain functions
lost to injury or disease.
Data and conclusions presented at meetings typically are
considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed medical
The U.S. National Center for Complementary and Alternative
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