Brain 'wifi' reverses leg paralysis in primate

10th Nov 2016

A recent study has shown an implant that beams instructions out of the brain has been used to restore movement in paralysed primates.

In the study, Rhesus monkeys were used who had paralysed one leg due to a damaged spinal cord. Spinal cord injuries block the flow of electrical signals from the brain to the rest of the body. One solution is to use technology to bypass the injury.

A chip was implanted into the part of the monkeys' brain that controls movement. The chip read the spikes of electrical activity that are the instructions for moving the legs and to send them to a nearby computer. The computer deciphered the messages and sent instructions to an implant in the monkey's spine to electrically stimulate the appropriate nerves.

The results showed the monkeys' regained some control of their paralysed leg in just under a week, and could walk in a straight line on a treadmill. 

It is expected that this technology could be ready for human trials within a decade.

To read about this article, please visit Nature website

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