First, they helped paraplegic rats walk again, now, they are doing it with primates, and the good news is that sooner rather than later, this new modern technique will also be available for human beings suffering from Spinal Cord Injuries (SCI).
Neuroscientists have been able to wirelessly reconnect the brains of two macaques with Spinal Cord Injuries. In just one week, they were able to walk again and voluntarily move their lower limbs.
Professor Grégoire Courtine, neuroscientist from the Federal Polytechnic School in Lausanne.(Switzerland) and leading scientist of this uplifting and encouraging treatment, was the main author of this investigation. 20 scientists from several institutions and universities from Europe and the United States participated in this scientific research.
The scientists’ goal was clear: to develop an interface between the brain and this new machine that would help monkeys with SCI walk again.
“This is the first time that neuroscience has re-established the motor system in primates.”, Mr Courtine said.
Mr. Courtine has been working for many decades on trying to help animals regain mobility in their lower limbs. At the beginning, when he used lab-rats for his experiments, it was the scientists that were controlling the rats’ movements. Now, it is the apes that are doing it on their own.
Of course, there are problems to solve before these trials are applied to humans. One of them is to endow the system with bio-directionality. In this research, the brain receives no information from the paw muscles or spinal neurons. Furthermore, the long-term impact of an implant that is placed directly in the brain is also not known.
This amazing technology is very similar to the Epidural Stimulation procedure which is currently being offered by Unique Access Medical at our facility. The results of this innovative technique are very similar to the ones that are being achieved with animals. Many patients suffering from Spinal Cord Injuries have greatly benefited from it; they have been able to stand up and walk with support, for the first time, since their accidents.
If you suffer from a Spinal Cord Injury or know anybody who might benefit from our unique treatment, please contact us and we will be happy to assist you or your loved one as much as possible. One of our Patient Representatives will get back to you at your earliest convenience.
H/T NBC News and Chicago Tribune