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Home Industry News Wireless brain implants help paralysed monkeys walk again

Wireless brain implants help paralysed monkeys walk again

14th November 2016

Scientists have developed innovative new brain implants that use wireless signals to help paralysed monkeys to regain the ability to walk.

A team from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne has created an implant that stimulates electrodes in the leg by recreating signals recorded from the brains of healthy animals.

Microelectrode arrays inserted in the brains of paralysed monkeys were able to decode these signals associated with leg movement, with this information then sent wirelessly to devices that generate electric pulses in the lower spine, thereby creating movement in the legs.

Although the rhythm of the animals' leg movements was not perfect, no foot-dragging was observed, with the overall movement being coordinated enough to support the monkeys' weight.

It is hoped that by re-establishing this link between the brain and the spinal cord, the implant could help the remaining nerves to strengthen their connections, meaning damaged or lost functions could theoretically be regained.

Neuroscientist and study leader Gregoire Courtine told the Guardian: "The idea is that over time, if the injury is not too severe, you can actually recover voluntary movement without needing the technology."

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