With funding from the Department of Defense, research facilities in Ohio and New Jersey will conduct a multi-site study of transcranial stimulation for recovery of upper limb function in individuals with chronic spinal cord injury
East Hanover, NJ. August 26, 2019. Kessler Foundation is one of three sites participating in a study of noninvasive brain stimulation to improve upper limb function
In a hospital in Switzerland, permanently paralyzed people are now learning to walk again with the help of stimulating electrodes implanted in their spines. For Grégoire Courtine, professor of neuroprosthetics at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne (EPFL), this day has been a long time coming. “It took us 15 years to get from paralyzed rats to the first steps in humans,” he says. “Maybe in 10 more years, our technology will be ready for the clinic.”
Courtine has made it his mission to reverse paralysis. He started 15 years ago with those paralyzed rats, putting tiny electrical implants into their spines to stimulate nerve fibers below the site of their spinal cord injuries.
For those whose arms as well as legs are paralyzed by spinal cord injury, no skill is more broadly useful to regain than the ability to grasp and move objects. Researchers reporting in Nature magazine this week say they have devised a new way to get a patient’s hand to grasp a greater range of objects: by playing recorded brain commands directly to muscle.
For the paralyzed, the technique could provide brain signals a way around the broken spinal cord and allow hand movements more finely tuned to different tasks.