Paralysed man walks again via thought-controlled implants – Times of India



PARIS: A paralyzed man has regained the ability to walk easily using only his thoughts for the first time, researchers said Wednesday, thanks to two implants that restore communication between the brain and spinal cord.
The patient Garrett Johnwho did not want his surname to be revealed, said the development had given him “a freedom I didn’t have before”.
The 40-year-old Dutch national has been paralyzed in her legs for more than a decade after suffering a spinal cord injury during a bicycle accident.
But using a new system he can now walk “naturally”, take on difficult terrain and even climb stairs, according to a study published in the journal Nature.
The breakthrough is the result of more than a decade of work by a team of researchers. France And Switzerland.
Last year the team showed that a spinal cord implant – which sends electrical pulses to stimulate leg muscles – allowed three paralyzed patients to walk again.
But they needed to press a button each time to move their legs.
Garrett John, who also has a spinal implant, said it made it difficult to get into a “natural stepping” rhythm.
The latest research combines a spinal implant with a new technology called a brain-computer interface, which is implanted over the part of the brain that controls leg movement.
The interface uses algorithms based on artificial intelligence methods to decode brain recordings in real time, the researchers said.
This allows the interface, which was designed by researchers in France. Atomic Energy Commission (CEA), to learn how the patient wants to move their legs at any given time.
Data is transmitted to the spinal implant via a portable device that fits into a walker or small backpack, allowing patients to move around without the help of others.
Both implants create what researchers call a “digital bridge” to bridge the disconnect between the spinal cord and brain that was created during Garrett John’s accident.
“Now I can do what I want — when I decide to take a step, the trigger will kick in as soon as I think about it,” Gert John said.
It has been a long journey to get here, he said at a press conference in the Swiss city, after undergoing two invasive surgeries to implant the two devices. Lausanne.
But among other changes, he’s now able to stand in a bar again with friends drinking beer.
He said in a statement that this simple joy represents a significant change in my life.
Gregoire Courtainea neuroscientist at the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne in Switzerland and a study co-author, said it was “fundamentally different” from what had been done before.
“Previous patients walked with great effort — now one needs to think about walking just to take a step,” he said at a press conference in the Swiss city of Lausanne.
There was another positive sign: After six months of training, Garrett John regained some of the sensory perception and motor skills he lost in the accident.
He was even able to walk with crutches when the “digital bridge” was closed.
Guillaume CharvetA researcher at France’s CEA told AFP that this suggests that “the establishment of a connection between the brain and the spinal cord will promote the reorganization of neuronal networks at the site of injury”.
So when can this technology be available to paralyzed people around the world? Charvet cautioned that it would take “several more years of research” to get to that point.
But the team is already preparing a trial to study whether the technology can restore function in arms and hands.
They also hope it can be applied to other problems, such as strokes caused by strokes.





Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *