Scientists Create Wireless Brain Implants That May Soon Help the Paralyzed to Walk
A team of scientists working with monkeys has created a wireless brain implant that could help paralyzed monkeys walk again.
Accidents happen. No matter how diligent you are or how prepared you try to be, there are circumstances that you simply cannot predict. These accidents have very real consequences - some more dire than others. Nevertheless, technology is keeping up with the demand of coping with the results of unforeseen situations. This statement is truest concerning paralysis and the people suffering from it.
According to statistics gathered by Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation, over 5.5 million people suffer from paralysis in the United States alone. This figure accounts for 1.8% of the country's total population.
There are available treatments that can help alleviate the effects of paralysis. However, often the therapy and medication are expensive and time-consuming. Fortunately, late last week, scientists from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, published a development in spinal-cord injury treatment that could be the key to better options for the paralyzed.
Neuroscientists, Gregoire Courtine, and his team has been working with monkeys in Beijing, China in order to find treatment for spinal-cord injuries. Last November 9, the team confirmed that their research have enabled them to create a wireless brain implant that made it possible for monkeys afflicted with spinal-cord injuries to walk.
""The whole team was screaming in the room as we watched," gushed Courtine as reported by Nature.com.
Neuroscientists from around the globe have express their excitement over the recent development. According to Chad Bouton from the Feinstein Institute of Medical Research, Corutine's team has opened new doors for clinical studies involving patients living with paralysis.
Courtine however was quick to explain that it would take more research and testing before the brain implants would be safe enough for humans to use. At present, the team has already started clinical trials which aims to stimulate coordinated walking in paralyzed people in the CHUV University Hospital of Lausanne.