For many, paralysis or limb loss is a lifelong burden, and scientists across the world have been working around the clock to restore movement to these unfortunate few. Now, a new Nature study showcases what is not just a step but a leap forward in medical science.
A young man, who became a quadriplegic during a diving accident, is today able to grasp objects and even play video games using his own hand and fingers, after a novel device was surgically inserted into his brain. This remarkable breakthrough, spearheaded by researchers at The Ohio State University (OSU) Wexner Medical Center, promises to revolutionize the way paralysis is treated in the future.
“This is the first technique of its kind,” study co-author Chad Bouton of the New York-based Feinstein Institute for Medical Research told IFLScience. “Neural recordings have been linked back to the body to allow movement in a human.”
The patient, Ian Burkhart, is a 24-year-old quadriplegic from Ohio, whose neural connections between his brain and limbs were severed. This type of paralysis used to be incurable, but as demonstrated just last October, quadriplegia can be partly overcome: Surgeons managed to restore partial functions to patients’ hands and arms by connecting healthy nerves to damaged ones.
by Robin Andrews. Read the full article here.
photo credit: Ian Burkhart demonstrates the technology. Ohio State University/Batelle