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Paralyzed people could walk again instantly after scientists developed a brain implant which turns thought into electrical signals in the spine so that lost feeling can be restored after injury.
Currently people who break their backs or suffer a spinal trauma are unable to stand or move even though their legs still work, because the signal which connects their brains to their muscles is disconnected.
But an international team of scientists have shown it is possible to bypass the injury and reconnect the brain signals to electrodes at an undamaged part of the spine.
Two monkeys who were temporarily paralyzed in one leg were able to walk again instantly using the technique, which could be available for humans within a decade.
"For the first time, I can imagine a completely paralyzed patient able to move their legs through this brain-spine interface, said neurosurgeon Jocelyne Bloch of the Lausanne University Hospital.
Neuroscientist Dr Erwan Bezard of Bordeaux University who oversaw the experiments added: "The primates were able to walk immediately once the brain-spine interface was activated. No physiotherapy or training was necessary.”
Humans are able to move because electrical signals originating in the brain's motor cortex travel down to the lumbar region in the lower spinal cord, where they activate motor neurons that coordinate the movement of muscles responsible for extending and flexing the leg.
But injury to the upper spine can cut off communication between the brain and lower spinal cord.
To create a device which mimicked the natural communication of the brain and muscles, scientists needed to decode signals from the motor cortex and turn them into electronic signals which could fire electrodes and stimulate nerves in the spine.
Amazing. Thanks for posting.
originally posted by: seasonal
a reply to: sputniksteve
Me too, if someone is wheel chair bound, it leads to all sorts of very expensive problems.
Lets hope this is a viable treatment for the injured.