Image courtesy of AAP 2107 9NEWS.com.au
Originally published by 9NEWS.com.au
A "revolutionary" device implanted in a brain blood vessel may one day enable people with spinal cord injuries to walk again, say Melbourne researchers.
Their limbs won’t be reactivated, but the person’s direct thought may be able to control equipment that can move the limbs.
The device is a minimally invasive brain machine interface – a bionic implant that translates thought into action.
It consists of a stent-based electrode, stentrode, which is implanted within a blood vessel in the brain.
It records the type of neural activity that has been shown in pre-clinical animal trials to move limbs though an exoskeleton, a mobility assist device, or to control bionic limbs.
The device, the size of a small paperclip, will be implanted in the first human trial, involving three people, at The Royal Melbourne Hospital in 2017.
The pre-clinical trial results, published in Nature Biotechnology, show the device is capable of recording high-quality signals emitted from the brain’s motor cortex, without the need for high risk open brain surgery.
"We have been able to create the world’s only minimally invasive device that is implanted into a blood vessel in the brain via a simple day procedure, avoiding the need for high risk open brain surgery."
The vision of the 39 scientists is for the device to return function and mobility to patients with complete paralysis by recording brain activity and converting the acquired signals into electrical commands.
Success could mean a software system on a computer which a paraplegic person could control via particular thoughts, including the lights in the house or their wheelchair, Dr Oxley said.
Co-investigator, biomedical engineer Dr Nicholas Opie said the concept was similar to an implantable cardiac pacemaker.
read article at http://www.9news.com.au/health/2016/02/09/03/08/bionic-spinal-cord-trial-for-humans
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