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Neurosurgical team acceptability of brain-computer interfaces: a two-stage international cross-sectional survey.

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journal contribution
posted on 04.08.2022, 08:48 authored by Simon C Williams, Hugo Layard Horsfall, Jonathan P Funnell, John G Hanrahan, Andreas T Schaefer, William Muirhead, Hani J Marcus
OBJECTIVE: Invasive brain-computer interfaces (BCIs) require neurosurgical implantation, which confers a range of risks. Despite this, no studies have assessed the acceptability of invasive BCIs amongst the neurosurgical team. This study aims to establish baseline knowledge of BCIs within the neurosurgical team and identify attitudes towards different applications of invasive BCI. METHOD: A two-stage cross-sectional international survey of the neurosurgical team (neurosurgeons, anaesthetists, and operating room nurses) was conducted. Results from the first, qualitative, survey were used to guide the second stage quantitative survey, which assessed acceptability of invasive BCI applications. 5-part Likert Scales were used to collect quantitative data. Surveys were distributed internationally via social media and collaborators. RESULTS: 108 qualitative responses were collected. Themes included the promise of BCIs positively impacting disease targets, concerns regarding stability, and an overall positive emotional reaction to BCI technology. The quantitative survey generated 538 responses from 32 countries. Baseline knowledge of BCI technology was poor, with 9% claiming to have a 'good' or 'expert' knowledge of BCIs. Acceptability of invasive BCI for rehabilitative purposes was >80%. Invasive BCI for augmentation in healthy populations divided opinion. CONCLUSION: The neurosurgical team's view of the acceptability of BCI was divided across a range of indications. Some applications (for example stroke rehabilitation) were viewed as more appropriate than other applications (such as augmentation for military use). This range in views highlights the need for stakeholder consultation on acceptable use cases along with regulation and guidance to govern initial BCI implantations if patients are to realise the potential benefits.

Funding

Crick (Grant ID: 10153, Grant title: Schaefer FC001153)

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