The Paralysis Implant

A Cure for Paralysis

In a matter of 15 years, scientists hope to create technology that helps paralyzed people move again. With the multitude of people unable to move various body parts, scientists have been working on reverse paralysis technology that can help people with immobile body parts experience them moving again.


Test Monkeys

Scientists began to explore this technology after their very first test of mobility on a monkey whose leg was paralyzed. To conduct this experiment, the scientists used a blade to cut halfway through the money’s spinal cord, in order to paralyze the monkey’s right leg. Next, they placed a recording device under the skull and stitched flexible electrodes around the monkey’s spinal cord. The monkey was then placed on a treadmill, and in a matter of time, the monkey slowly began walking with a limp; the monkey’s right leg was slowly gaining movement. This experiment was a big breakthrough for the scientists and was creating a path for the betterment of healthcare’s future.


Electrodes in Monkeys
Monkey clones

Electrodes

The way this new technology works is truly extraordinary. To begin with, about 100 electrode are placed in the motor cortex of the brain; these electrodes are connected to a recording device which monitors electrical activities taking place in the brain that correspond with the movement of the paralyzed body part. Once these signals are sent to a computer which decodes the information, it is sent to another set of electrodes placed underneath the affected body part, activating the muscles at that spot, allowing them to do their respective movement.

Hospitals in Switzerland are beginning to experiment with this new technology on humans; where they place the implant on a paralyzed human, and try to teach them to walk again. Although the technology is currently not completely successful for humans, it has worked on the monkey, and a rat at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne.

This procedure was initially devised to test on monkeys, but with its astounding success, scientists are ready move forward and begin extensive testing on humans.


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Tagged in : Healthcare Technology

Shrestha Kandpal Image

Shrestha Kandpal

Shrestha Kandpal is a junior at Cupertino High School. She wants to broaden her knowledge of computer science and technology, and hopes to use these skills to study biotechnology in the future.