Monkeys Who Were Previously Paralyzed Regain Movement
I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento Spinal Cord Injury lawyer. When people are involved in a serious car accident there are several medical problems that may develop. One of the most severe is a spinal cord injury. The spinal cord contains nerves that descend from the brain and eventually filter out into the rest of the body. If the cord is damaged, such as in spine fractures, people may become paralyzed. In the past, people have been told that a paralysis injury is a permanent injury that will never heal; however, a few monkeys recently received a new lease of life.
Monkeys in Switzerland Regained Movement
A team of researchers at an institute in Switzerland recently conducted a study examining the possibility of using brain implants to restore function to monkeys who were paralyzed. They examined two monkeys who had been seriously injured, leading to paralysis of both legs, called paraplegia. The researchers inserted two wireless implants into the brains of these monkeys. The implants acted as a conduit that helped to transmit signals from the brain into the spine. Both monkeys regained movement in their legs after the implants were placed. In fact, one monkey regained movement in less than a week, a short time for rehabilitation after traumatic injuries.
A Conduit through the Broken Pathway
When someone is in injured in an accident that leads to paralysis, such as in a vertebral fracture, the nerves in the spinal cord are severed. People can view the spinal cord as a highway through which signals between the brain and the legs travel. If the cord is injured, there is a roadblock across the highway and the signals have no detour to get around the block. With these wireless brain implants, a conduit is created that helps to bridge the block and offer signals a way to detour around the injury. Furthermore, the conduit didn’t just generate movement using random signals. The researchers were able to demonstrate that the monkeys had control over the movements of their legs despite the traumatic injuries.
Will this be Transferred to Humans?
The ultimate question on everyone’s mind is whether or not a device such as this can make a successful transition to human patients and help people struggling with paraplegia regain control over their legs. One of the biggest challenges is that the areas of the brain that control the movements of the legs in humans are different than that in monkeys. Despite the challenges ahead, the study is a positive first step for medical professionals and injured patients everywhere. Perhaps the research will be applied to people with arm paralysis or brachial plexus injuries as well.
Contact an Experienced Spinal Cord Injury Attorney
I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento Spinal Cord Injury lawyer. When it comes to serious injuries, few injuries are more severe than those that lead to paralysis. Anyone suffering a spinal cord injury may call me at (916) 921-6400 for friendly, free advice. My office also maintains a toll-free number at (800) 404-5400.
I have been inducted into the California chapter of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum. We are a group of top trial lawyers in the country. We have won settlements and verdicts worth more than 1 Million Dollars.
Please browse through my prior verdicts and settlements.
Image Attribution: Wikimedia Commons Public Domain Images – by Aaron Logan