Scientists are making remarkable progress at using brain implants to restore the freedom of movement that spinal cord injuries take away.
After having one of my closest friends nearly paralyze himself, this topic really hit me.
French neuroscientist, Antonio Regalado was driven to prove that he could reverse paralysis. Regalado worked with a monkey paralyzed in the right leg. He and his colleges inserted a device that is below the skull touching the motor cortex and sutured a pad of flexible electrodes around the animal’s spinal cord, below the injury. Through a wireless connection the two devices are connected
Results: The system read the monkeys intentions of moving and transmitted electric simulation burst to the spine causing the leg to move. As the monkey thought, it was able to start walking again.
Although they amazing process won't be accessible for another 10 to 15 years, the neuroscientist are doing all they can, and money is going to the right places. There is a $100 million center in Geneva to specifically solve remaining technical obstacles to neurotechnologies like the spinal cord bypass. With all the final touches and fixes, this could be an actual effective fix to paralysis in our lifetime.
I am curious as to when the device will actually be put to use in humans? I also wonder if there will be any side effects to this process?