Thanks to the latest technology, brain and spinal cord implants have been used to restore movement in a man who was paralyzed after an accident. This medical breakthrough could help thousands of people suffering from paralysis.
The man, called “T,” was paralyzed from neck to feet after a car accident in 2013. But by implanting electrodes in his brain and spinal cord, he was able to move again.
Several teams of researchers were involved in the procedure, including the University of Pennsylvania, Brown University and the U.S. Veterans Administration. They used a technology called bioprosthetics, which uses electrical impulses to stimulate nerve cells.
Electrodes were inserted into T’s brain and spinal cord and then connected to a computer that controls the pulses. This allowed T to control his muscles and move again.
Although the procedure was performed on only one person, this could be a huge step forward for medicine. Researchers hope that the technology can be applied to treat other people suffering from paralysis.
Disability due to paralysis is one of the most common problems in the world. According to the World Health Organization, about 250,000 to 500,000 people suffer a spinal cord injury each year, resulting in paralysis.
Although still in the research phase, this technology could be revolutionary in the treatment of paralysis. As Professor John Donoghue, one of the scientists working on this project, noted:
“This is the first step in understanding how we can help people with paralysis and other neurological disorders.”