Brain Implant Restores Movement in Quadriplegic Hands

brain implant
Source: IFLS

A male quadriplegia patient’s movement and sensation were partially restored in his hands and wrists after a clinical trial. The trial was the first of its kind, in which microchips were implanted into his brain. Moreover, the implant formed an electronic bridge, which uses AI algorithms for translating thoughts into actions. It formed a connection between his brain and body worsened because of injury.

Principal investigator of the study, Chad Bouton said in a statement,

This is the first time the brain, body and spinal cord have been linked together electronically in a paralyzed human to restore lasting movement and sensation

When the study participant thinks about moving his arm or hand, we ‘supercharge’ his spinal cord and stimulate his brain and muscles to help rebuild connections, provide sensory feedback, and promote recovery. This type of thought-driven therapy is a game-changer. Our goal is to use this technology one day to give people living with paralysis the ability to live fuller, more independent lives.

Keith Thomas had been suffering from quadriplegia since he had gotten into an accident in July 2020. He injured the C4 and C5 vertebrae of his spine. When the injuries are this high up, they can lead to quadriplegia and tetraplegia. They are patterns of paralysis that affect the hands, legs, arms, torso, respiratory, and bowel functions. Patients lose movement and sensation in all four limbs. However, a novel brain implant has been developed that can restore the feeling. It can control Thomas’s hands and wrists after the accident.

Thomas said,

There was a time that I didn’t know if I was even going to live, or if I wanted to, frankly. And now, I can feel the touch of someone holding my hand. It’s overwhelming,

The only thing I want to do is to help others. That’s always been the thing I’m best at. If this can help someone even more than it’s helped me somewhere down the line, it’s all worth it.

Installing the Implant

A 15-hour-long open-brain surgery was required for installing the implant, which was completed on 9th March 2023. Furthermore, the double neural bypass serves the purpose of an electric bridge. It reconnects the brain, spinal cord, and body, which enables the information to flow freely.

The implant is made of five-minute microchips that go into the brain directly. It forms a critical portion of the double neural bypass, which uses AI for translating thoughts into actions.

In conclusion, Thomas benefited from the brain implant. He can now move freely and feel his hands and wrists again without being connected to computers.

In addition, researchers and developers of the implant hope that it can encourage new neural pathways to help overcome physical injury and disease using bioelectric medicine.

Dr. Kevin Tracey president and CEO of the Feinstein Institutes and Karches Family Distinguished Chair in Medical Research said,

Millions of people live with paralysis and loss of feeling, with limited options available to improve their condition

Prof. Bouton and his team are committed to advancing new bioelectronic technologies and open new clinical paths to restore movement and sensation.” 


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