Artificial brain-muscle connections restore movement to paralyzed monkeys armsOctober 16th, 2008 - 4:50 pm ICT by ANI
London, October 16 (ANI): American researchers have successfully restored movement to monkeys with their arms temporarily anesthetized, with the aid of a direct artificial connection from their brains to muscles.
Funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the study may have promising implications for those affected by spinal cord injuries and thousands of others with paralyzing neurological diseases.
“This study demonstrates a novel approach to restoring movement through neuroprosthetic devices, one that would link a person’’s brain to the activation of individual muscles in a paralyzed limb to produce natural control and movements,” Nature magazine quoted Dr. Joseph Pancrazio, a program director at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), as saying.
For their study, the researchers trained monkeys to control the activity of single nerve cells in the motor cortex, an area of the brain that controls voluntary movements.
The team used a type of brain-computer interface to detect neuronal activity. They connected electrodes implanted in the motor cortex were connected via external circuitry to a computer.
The neural activity led to movements of a cursor, as monkeys played a target practice game.
Once the monkeys had mastered control of the cursor, their wrist muscles were temporarily paralyzed using a local anesthetic to block nerve conduction.
The team then converted the activity in the monkey’’s brain to electrical stimulation delivered to the paralyzed wrist muscles.
The monkeys continued to play the target practice game, demonstrating that they had regained the ability to control the otherwise paralyzed wrist.
“A robotic arm would be better for someone whose physical arm has been lost or if the muscles have atrophied, but if you have an arm whose muscles can be stimulated, a person can learn to reactivate them with this technology,” says lead researcher Dr. Eberhard E. Fetz, professor of physiology and biophysics at the University of Washington in Seattle.
The researchers believe that a connection between the motor cortex and sites in the spinal cord below the injury may enable those with spinal injuries to achieve coordinated movements.
Dr. Fetz, however, insists that clinical applications are still at least a decade away because they would require better methods for recording cortical neurons, for controlling multiple muscles, and implantable circuitry that could be used reliably and safely. (ANI)
- Robot arm boosts brain-controlled device's performance - Dec 15, 2010
- New brain computer interface for spinal cord injury patients introduced - Feb 18, 2011
- Single gene acts as 'master organizer' of motor neurons in spinal cord - Sep 09, 2010
- Mind power can revive paralysed limbs - Oct 16, 2008
- Scientists find extensive natural recovery after spinal cord injury - Nov 15, 2010
- Transplanted stem cells form proper brain connections in newborn mice - Jan 20, 2010
- 'Iron Man' type robotic exoskeleton to aid recovery in spinal injury patients - Apr 19, 2011
- Soon, brain chip that could herald the end of paralysis - Jul 05, 2010
- Brain chip may help paralysed patients move bionic limbs - Jul 05, 2010
- New implant to ease seizures fits snugly into brain - Apr 19, 2010
- Now, a brain-recording device that melts into place - Apr 19, 2010
- New brain area evolved to help humans with complex movements - Jan 13, 2009
- 1,000-day performance milestone reached by BrainGate system - Mar 25, 2011
- Single shot relieves pain in spinal injuries - Dec 02, 2011
- New discovery may lead to more effective spinal-cord injury treatments - May 31, 2010
Tags: artificial brain, brain computer interface, external circuitry, local anesthetic, motor cortex, national institute of neurological disorders, national institutes of health, national institutes of health nih, nature magazine, nerve cells, nerve conduction, neural activity, neurological diseases, neuronal activity, pancrazio, practice game, spinal cord injuries, target practice, voluntary movements, wrist muscles