Daily Archives: April 20, 2012
Locomotor therapy is being used to strengthen the muscles of people with spinal cord injuries, experts hope that it has the potential to bring back muscle movement.
April 22, 2012 /24-7PressRelease/ — A former hockey player paralyzed from a diving accident has the opportunity to run again once a week thanks to a revolutionary spinal cord injury treatment. Another woman was told she would never walk again. Now she is using a walker at her home and riding a stationary bicycle three times per week.
Scientists at Northwestern University in Chicago, with funding from the National Institutes of Health, have successfully bypassed the spinal cord and restored fine motor control to paralyzed limbs using a brain-computer interface.
The researchers have created a neuroprosthesis that combines a brain-computer interface (BCI) that’s wired directly into 100 neurons in the motor cortex of the subject, and a functional electrical stimulation (FES) device that’s wired into the muscles of the subject’s arm. When the subject tries to move his arm or hand, that cluster of around 100 neurons activates, creating a stream of data which can then be read and analyzed by the BCI to predict what muscles the subject is trying to move, and with what level of force. This interpreted data is passed to the FES, which then triggers the right muscles to perform the desired movement.