Neural bypass restores quadriplegic hand movement

For the first time ever, a paralyzed man can move his fingers and hand with his own thoughts.

Ian Burkhart, a 23-year-old quadriplegic from Dublin, Ohio, is the first patient to use Neurobridge, an electronic neural bypass for spinal cord injuries that reconnects the brain directly to muscles, allowing voluntary and functional control of a paralyzed limb.

Burkhart is the first of a potential five participants in a clinical study made possible through an innovative partnership between The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center and Battelle, a the world’s largest non-profit R&D organisation.

‘It’s much like a heart bypass, but instead of bypassing blood, we’re actually bypassing electrical signals,’ said Chad Bouton, research leader at Battelle. ‘We’re taking those signals from the brain, going around the injury, and actually going directly to the muscles.

The Neurobridge technology combines algorithms that learn and decode the user’s brain activity and a high-definition muscle stimulation sleeve that translates neural impulses from the brain and transmits new signals to the paralyzed limb. In this case, Ian’s brain signals bypass his injured spinal cord and move his hand, hence the name Neurobridge.

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June 27, 2014



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