Paralyzed monkey walks again after brain spine implant
Publication DateNovember 10 2016
DescriptionFor the first time in history, a paralyzed monkey was able to walk again after a neural device was successfully implanted on its brain, a breakthrough procedure researchers say will hopefully be used on humans one day. A new study published in the journal Nature describes a neuron prosthetic interface that creates a wireless bridge between the brain and the spine, bypassing any injury. Scientists were able to restore movement in the paralyzed leg of a rhesus monkey that had suffered a spinal cord injury. The so-called “brain-spine-interface” decodes motor intention from brain signals, then relays it to the spinal cord.“To decode the brain activity is not really new, to stimulate the spinal cord is not really new either. But the association of both; to make the link between the decoding of the brain and the stimulation of the spinal cord, and to make this communication exist — this is completely new,” neurosurgeon Jocelyne Bloch at Lausanne University Hospital in Switzerland told Reuters.Small electrical pulses stimulate neural pathways to trigger specific muscles on the legs — restoring locomotion in real-time, researchers say. The system was developed by neuroscientist Grégoire Courtine at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne, along with researchers at the University of Bordeaux, Motac Neuroscience and the Lausanne University Hospital (CHUV).