Friday, 29 April 2016
Brain implant, electrode sleeve reanimate quadriplegic's fingers
For the first time, a quadriplegic was able to move his fingers and hand with his own thoughts, using technology that allows brain signals to circumvent his injured spine and go directly to his muscles.Ian Burkhart, now 24, injured his spine in 2010. He had a microchip sensor implanted in the motor cortex of his brain in April 2014--the part where nerve impulses dictating movement originate. The implant sends signals to an electrode sleeve worn on the arm, which translates these impulses and stimulates muscles in the forearm to move the hand and fingers.
"It's much like a heart bypass, but instead of bypassing blood, we're actually bypassing electrical signals," said Chad Bouton, a research leader at Battelle, in a statement. "We're taking those signals from the brain, going around the injury, and actually going directly to the muscles."
Burkhart is the first of 5 potential patients to participate in the study…..while the technology can currently only be used in the lab, the team hopes to make it a wireless system available to patients at home, said Dr. Ali Rezai, a professor of neurosurgery and neuroscience at Ohio State.