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  • Writer's pictureJulie Manley

New spinal cord research - success using a brain-spine interface


Last week Nature published an article of a case study titled "Walking naturally after spinal cord injury using a brain-spine interface (BSI)"


My quick summary:

-A spinal cord injury interrupts the communication between the brain and the spinal cord. Depending on where the injury is, this can make it impossible or difficult to walk again and can also affect the use of someone's arms.

-In this study, they proposed using a digital bridge between the brain and the spinal cord that would enable voluntary control over walking again

-This study worked with a 38-year-old man, 10 years after his incomplete spinal cord injury (which was at the level of C5/C6 - meaning "quadriplegia")

-They used special imaging studies to figure out the parts of his brain and spinal cord that were most involved with moving his arms and legs

-They implanted recording devices in the brain and implanted a stimulation system in the lumbar spinal cord (low back)

-With training, the recording devices could "read" the brain and then send a stimulation signal through the spinal cord device which in turn causes controlled leg movements and walking

-This participant regained the ability to walk with crutches overground even when the BSI was switched off. They concluded that "the digital bridge establishes a framework to restore natural control of movement after paralysis".


Check out both of these links. The first one has a video summary of the research success. The second one is the published article.







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