Spinal cord work-around reanimates paralyzed hand | Science News

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Spinal cord work-around reanimates paralyzed hand

Neural prosthesis lets quadriplegic man wiggle fingers, flex wrist, grasp items

By
1:00pm, April 13, 2016
a paralyzed man playing a guitar video game

MAKING MUSIC  A neural bypass system translates signals from the brain into hand movements, allowing a paralyzed man to play a guitar video game. 

With the help of a neural prosthesis, a quadriplegic man used his paralyzed right hand to grab a bottle, swipe a credit card and play a guitar video game. Bypassing his damaged spinal cord, the system restored his ability to use his thoughts to command his hand to move.  

Other neural prosthetic systems have allowed paralyzed people to use their brain activity to move computer cursors, robotic limbs and wheelchairs (SN: 11/16/13, p. 22). But the new approach, described online April 13 in Nature, is the first to use brain activity to control a person’s own limb. “We literally are reconnecting the brain to the body,” study coauthor Chad Bouton of the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research in Manhasset, N.Y., said April 12 in a news briefing. 

Decoding brain signals and correctly stimulating muscles are “really hard things to do individually,” says

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