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Chances for and Limitations of Brain-Computer Interface use in Elderly People

Chances for and Limitations of Brain-Computer Interface use in Elderly People
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Author(s): Emilia Mikołajewska (Military Clinical Hospital No. 10 and Polyclinic, Poland), Dariusz Mikołajewski (Kazimierz Wielki University, Poland & Nicolaus Copernicus University, Poland), Tomasz Komendziński (Nicolaus Copernicus University, Poland), Joanna Dreszer-Drogorób (Nicolaus Copernicus University, Poland), Monika Lewandowska (Institute of Physiology and Pathology of Hearing, Poland) and Tomasz Wolak (Institute of Physiology and Pathology of Hearing, Poland)
Copyright: 2014
Pages: 11
Source title: Emerging Theory and Practice in Neuroprosthetics
Source Author(s)/Editor(s): Ganesh R. Naik (University of Technology Sydney (UTS), Australia) and Yina Guo (Taiyuan University of Science and Technology, China)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-6094-6.ch007


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Recent demographic prognoses show tendencies toward a significant increase in the number of elderly people, especially in developed countries. This makes geriatric therapy, rehabilitation, and care difficult, especially with maintaining as long as possible the highest quality of life and independence in activities of daily living. Lack of specialized personnel and financial shortages may cause increased application of Assistive Technology (AT) and associated control devices. The most advanced current devices for diagnosis, communication, and control purposes are perceived Brain-Computer Interfaces (BCIs). BCIs use brain-derived bioelectrical signals as an input to enable diagnosis, communication, and/or control (e.g. neuroprostheses, medical robots, wheelchairs, whole integrated environments) without any movement. BCIs are regarded as novel solutions offering another breakthrough in everyday life, care, therapy, and rehabilitation in patients with severe sensory and neuropsychological deficits. However, particular issues in the area of BCIs use in elderly people should be emphasized, including influence of neurodegenerative disorders accompanied with secondary changes resulting from other medical problems (e.g. heart diseases, hypertension, diabetes mellitus, and osteoporosis), co-occurence of various drug therapies, etc. This chapter investigates the extent to which the available opportunities are being exploited, including both chances and limitations, medical, technical, psychological, societal, ethical, and legal issues.

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