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Funchal, Portugal

Bermudez I Badia S.,University deira | Garcia Morgade A.,University Pompeu Fabra | Samaha H.,University Pompeu Fabra | Verschure P.F.M.J.,University Pompeu Fabra | Verschure P.F.M.J.,Catalan Institution for Research and Advanced Studies
IEEE Transactions on Neural Systems and Rehabilitation Engineering | Year: 2013

Stroke is one of the leading causes of adult disability with high economical and societal costs. In recent years, novel rehabilitation paradigms have been proposed to address the life-long plasticity of the brain to regain motor function. We propose a hybrid brain-computer interface (BCI) - virtual reality (VR) system that combines a personalized motor training in a VR environment, exploiting brain mechanisms for action execution and observation, and a neuro-feedback paradigm using mental imagery as a way to engage secondary or indirect pathways to access undamaged cortico-spinal tracts. Furthermore, we present the development and validation experiments of the proposed system. More specifically, EEG data on nine naïve healthy subjects show that a simultaneous motor activity and motor imagery paradigm is more effective at engaging cortical motor areas and related networks to a larger extent. Additionally, we propose a motor imagery driven BCI-VR version of our system that was evaluated with nine different healthy subjects. Data show that users are capable of controlling a virtual avatar in a motor imagery training task that dynamically adjusts its difficulty to the capabilities of the user. User self-report questionnaires indicate enjoyment and acceptance of the proposed system. © 2001-2011 IEEE. Source

Xiao S.,University deira | Xiao S.,Wuhan Textile University | Castro R.,University deira | Rodrigues J.,University deira | And 3 more authors.
Journal of Biomedical Nanotechnology | Year: 2014

Herein, we report an easy and ingenious method to functionalize magnetic iron oxide nanoparticles (MNPs) with plasmid DNA (pDNA) to obtain nanohybrid systems suitable for nucleic acid therapy. The nanohybrids were prepared by combining complexes of dendrimers and pDNA (dendriplexes) and poly(styrene) sulfonate-coated MNPs through electrostatic interactions. The effects of the dendrimer generation (generations 2, 4 and 6) and the amine to phosphate group (N/P ) ratio on the hydrodynamic diameter, zeta potential, cell viability, cellular internalization and transfection efficiency of the nanohybrids were systematically investigated at different transfection conditions (including incubation time, pDNA concentration, presence or absence of an external magnetic field, and presence or absence of fetal bovine serum). The results confirmed that the nanohybrids were able to transfect NIH 3T3 cells, and that the level of gene expression (the luciferase protein reporter gene was used) was strongly dependent on the dendrimer generation, the N/P ratio, and the pDNA concentration. The best system was based on dendriplex-coated MNPs formed by generation 6 dendrimers at an N/P ratio of 10 that, at optimized conditions, led to a gene expression level which was not significantly different from that obtained only using dendriplexes. In summary, a coherent set of results was reached indicating the potential of the developed nanohybrids as effective gene delivery nanomaterials. © 2015 American Scientific Publishers All rights reserved. Source

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