Brain Implant Helps Quadriplegic Man Regain Control of Hand

Brain Implant Helps Quadriplegic Man Regain Control of Hand

By Shinji Tutoru

FEINSTEIN INSTITUTE IN MANHASSET, NEW YORK. A quadriplegic man has been given the ability to move his hand for the first time in five years after suffering a paralyzing spinal cord injury. The technology involves implanting electrodes in the part of the brain responsible for controlling movement. The invention of this technology is a breakthrough since it may help individuals who are unable to move certain body parts such as legs and arms, as a result of accidents, to be able to do so once again.

The Surgical Brain Implant

At the age of 19, Ian Burkhart suffered from a diving accident that broke his neck and left him paralyzed. Five years later, Burkhart was given the chance to participate in the trial of this novel technology. Chad Bouton and Ali Rezai of the Feinstein Institute in Manhasset, New York, and associates, embedded a pea-sized cluster of 100 cathodes in the mind of Burkhart, particularly, the part responsible for controlling movement. The group found the zone by examining Burkhart’s cerebrum before surgery while he contemplated moving his appendages. They identified the part that was in charge of controlling his right hand by electrically empowering it amid the surgery, and watching to check if the hand jerked. Rezai and his group additionally made a sleeve of electrodes to jar Burkhart’s arm muscles enthusiastically. These electrodes fortified muscles that control particular hand and finger movements like squeezing and grabbing.

When Man and Machine Meet

Burkhart began a preparation system to figure out how to control the electrode sleeve with his thoughts. To start, he viewed a virtual hand grip and discharge, which urged him to consider making the same movement. Recordings of Burkhart’s mind action were channeled to a PC, which deciphered them utilizing an algorithm, and then a signal was sent to the electrode sleeve.

It took a while for Burkhart to get the hang of the gadget and for the PC to figure out how to interpret his thoughts. With repetition, the signal became clearer  and the computer software was able to figure out how to make the movements faster and smoother.

Future Plans and Expectations

Rezai and his team hope to make the framework as less invasive as possible. In the long run, Rezai would like to have the capacity to embed mind sensors without surgery, possibly by inserting sensors under the scalp by means of an injection. Researchers also have goals to create external electrodes that will allow the control of other appendages, and maybe have all these devices incorporated  into clothing.

Despite this tremendous step in the race to overcome paralysis, a quadriplegic individual would most likely still need assistance in applying the electrodes daily. The technology is more than a glimpse of hope for those suffering from paralysis, but we are still a long way away from its widespread application.

Rezai and his partners trust Burkhart can in the end figure out how to utilize the sleeve to perform a more extensive scope of capacities. The team likewise has arrangements to utilize the framework in other individuals who have suffered an injury to the spinal cord or a stroke. Lee Miller at Northwestern University, who empowered monkeys to control automated appendages with their thoughts, figures that the group could enhance precision in the event that they invigorated Burkhart’s muscles inside, as opposed to utilizing an outside sleeve of terminals. This is expected to improve in the future.

Invention Brain Implant Helps Quadriplegic Man Regain Control of Hand
Organization Feinstein Institute
Researcher Chad Bouton & Team
Field(s) Medical Technology, Robotics, Neuroprosthetics, Neurology
Further Information


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