A few weeks ago, inside a research lab, 24-year-old Ian Burkhardt made history as the first quadriplegic to move his hand using brain signals recorded from his brain. His breakthrough provides a new ray of hope for those with spinal cord injury, and also for traumatic brain injury and stroke patients.
After a diving accident left him with severe spinal cord injury at the age of 19, Burkhardt began taking part in a clinical study being conducted at Ohio State University's Wexner Medical Center. The technology may sound like science fiction, but the results have moved restored muscular control even further into the realms of reality.
Researches started by implanting a chip into Burkhardt's brain. They then began training sessions in which they show him pictures of hand movements. Electronic signals are generated and the chip records, decodes and transmits them to an electronic sleeve attached to Burkhardt's forearm - a sleeve which the young man reports as being more natural and easier to wear than a prosthetic.
Fifteen months later, Burkhardt succeeded in making six basic hand and wrist movements including swiping a credit card and pouring from a jar.
Other brainwave transmission devices currently exist, but most involve electrodes attached to the scalp and result in cruder movements or moving robotic devices only. The study's implanted chip also allows better brain signal transmission, but is still admittedly invasive and accompanied by risk of complications. The results are nonetheless encouraging as research continues to someday develop biological means to regenerate the body and brain's nerve fibers.
Meanwhile, Burkhardt is ecstatic with the results.
For decades, Gluckstein Personal Injury Lawyers has been an active leader in advancing the cause of injury victims in Toronto. We rejoice at this encouraging new development and are always ready to help if you or a loved one has been injured by spinal cord or traumatic brain injury. Visit our site to learn how.
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