The future for paraplegics seems bright all of a sudden when a test of the mind-controlling implant to a paralyzed monkey made it walk again.
Jocelyne Bloch of the Lausanne University Hospital in Switzerland performed the surgery implant to an unlikely patient, a rhesus monkey.
The rhesus monkey was paralyzed or unable to get one of its limb to move because of a spinal lesion. The implant works as a communicator or a wireless bridge to get the brain and the limb to communicate.
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Wireless Implant on a silicone model of monkey's brain (Photo by Alain Herzog / EPFL)[/caption]
According to Bloch, when you have a spinal cord lesion the command from the brain is interrupted.
Bloch placed the electrodes in the part of the monkey's brain that controls leg movement. She then docked a wireless transmitter on the outside of its skull. She also placed sets of electrodes along the spinal cord below the injury.
An instrument to record muscle activity was also implanted on one leg.
It was after six days of the surgery where they finally had the implant device tested. The signals from the monkey's brain was transmitted to the computer and passed on to the electrodes in the spine.
According to Bloch, without the transmitters of the implant, it would take months for the monkey to move its leg. The procedure they had done only took a few seconds.
The monkey was back on its feet after a few days.
Another paralyzed monkey was given the same surgery and the results were the same.
The findings on this study is published in journal Nature
Paraplegia is usually caused by spinal injury which common victims are veterans or those in the armed forces.
The Swiss researchers however said that it may take a decade for them to be able to translate the study for humans.
Researchers have performed clinical trials to 8 people with partial leg paralysis. The researchers may be able to speed up recovery for those with problems of partial damage on nerve connections.
See Related: MRSA Infection Caught from a Borrowed Makeup Brush Left Woman Paralyzed
Source: npr. org