A TEAM OF SCIENTISTS AT THE SWISS FEDERAL INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY HAS SUCCESSFULLY DEVELOPED A MICROCHIP THAT BEAMS INSTRUCTIONS OUT OF THE BRAIN TO RESTORE MOVEMENT IN PARALYZED PRIMATES.
Researchers working with Rhesus monkeys (that had been paralyzed in one leg due to spinal cord injuries) were able to create an implant that could bypass the spinal cord damage by sending instructions directly from the brain to the nerves controlling leg movement.
ACCORDING TO THE RESULTS OF THE STUDY, PUBLISHED IN NATURE, THE IMPLANT’S EFFECTIVENESS IS ALMOST IMMEDIATE.
The monkeys regained some control of the paralyzed leg within a week of receiving the implant — and they were even able to walk in a straight line on a treadmill.
They have yet to test the monkey’s ability to steer, but this development is still a huge breakthrough.
“This is the first time that a neurotechnology has restored locomotion in primates,” researcher Dr. Gregoire Courtine told BBC News.
THIS MAY HAVE HUGE IMPLICATIONS FOR THE FUTURE OF PARALYZED PATIENTS.
While the way humans walk is different from the way primates walk (as we are bipedal), the technology used by researchers to stimulate the spinal cord is the same as that used in deep brain stimulation to treat Parkinson’s disease — so using this method on paralyzed humans is not out of the question.
“For the first time, I can image a completely paralyzed patient being able to move their legs through this brain-spine interface.” Jocelyne Bloch, a neurosurgeon from the Lausanne University Hospital, told BBC.
source : distractify