Motor imagery tasks are well established procedures in brain computer interfaces, but are also used in the assessment of patients with disorders of consciousness. For testing awareness in unresponsive patients it is necessary to know the natural variance of brain responses to motor imagery in healthy subjects.We examined 22 healthy subjects using EEG in three conditions: movement of both hands, imagery of the same movement, and an instruction to hold both hands still. Single-subject non-parametric statistics were applied to the fast-Fourier transformed data.Most effects were found in the α- and β-frequency ranges over central electrodes, that is, in the μ-rhythm. We found significant power changes in 18 subjects during movement and in 11 subjects during motor imagery. In 8 subjects these changes were consistent over both conditions. The significant power changes during movement were a decrease of μ-rhythm. There were 2 subjects with an increase and 9 subjects with a decrease of μ-rhythm during imagery.α and β are the most responsive frequency ranges, but there is a minor number of subjects who show a synchronization instead of the more common desynchronization during motor imagery.A (de)synchronization of μ-rhythm can be considered to be a normal response.
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