Researchers Report Progress in Paralyzed Arm Movement Using Brain-Machine Interface

spinal cord injury

According to the results of a new experiment that were revealed recently, researchers have made progress in enabling a woman who suffered from paralysis of both arms and legs, to move her arm using brain-machine technology.

According to the results of a new experiment that were revealed recently, researchers have made progress in enabling a woman who suffered from paralysis of both arms and legs, to move her arm using brain-machine technology.

The technology was revealed recently at the annual conference of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons in New Orleans.  According to the researchers, the technology is based on a brain- machine interface which takes signals from the brain, and transmits the signal to the arm to enable movement.

Spinal injury lawyers have found that such brain- machine interface technologies are being widely used as part of prosthetics development, in order to enable people who have suffered paralysis of their arms and legs to move these limbs.  The technology is likely to benefit not just persons who have lost limbs, but also those who have lost the use of their arms due to paralysis after suffering a spinal cord injury or head and neck injuries.

In this technique, the person undergoes a surgery in which electrode grids are implanted into his brain.  The researchers acknowledge that this is a complicated surgery, because the electrodes penetrate the surface of the brain by as much as 1/16th of an inch.  The electrodes are connected to terminals that protrude from the person’s skull.

When the researchers connected the terminals to the computer, they found that when the woman thought of moving her arm, it fired a signal in the woman’s brain, allowing movement in her arm.

Over a period of time, the woman was able to not just perform simple physical movements, like moving her arm, but was also able to pick up and grasp objects, rotate her arm and wrist, and even feed herself chocolate.

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Scientists Find Stem Cell-Physical Therapy Combination Can Reverse Spinal Injury

spinal-cord-injury

New research suggests to spinal injury lawyers that stem cell therapy combined with physical therapy can help reverse spinal injury

New research suggests to spinal injury lawyers that stem cell therapy combined with physical therapy can help reverse spinal injury, enabling patients who have suffered paralysis as a result of these injuries to experience movement and sensation in their paralyzed limbs.

The research was conducted at the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, and the researchers analyzed about 70 patients.  All these patients have suffered cervical or thoracic spinal injuries.  All of these patients had also earlier been treated using conventional spinal injury treatment techniques, but had not responded to the treatment.

The patients were randomly categorized into 2 groups.  Both of the groups were administered physical therapy to treat their spinal injury.  However, one of the groups was also administered a special stem cell therapy.  The stem cells for the therapy were extracted from the patients’ own bone marrow.

The patients were evaluated regularly over 14 months to determine if there was any change or improvement in their sensory and motor functions.  The researchers identified improvements using the American Spinal Injury Association Impairment Scale.

The researchers have confirmed that there were very few side effects when the patients were treated with stem cells.  Moreover, they also found a substantial improvement in the patients who received the stem cell therapy in addition to the physical therapy.

After about 12 weeks of the stem cell-physical therapy treatment, these patients reported that they have improved sensation and muscle strength in the affected areas.  They also reported enhanced potency, and also had much better bladder and bowel control.  Over a period of time, their bladder and bowel control improved so much that they were free of catheter.  In contrast, the patients who did not receive the stem cells showed no improvement.

Most spinal injuries are the result of slip and fall accidents or involvement in an auto accident or motorcycle accident.  Spinal injuries can be devastating, because there is no complete cure for these injuries.

 

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Nerve Stimulation Can Help Patients Regain Movement in Paralyzed Hands

spinal injury

According to the results of a new study that was published recently in the journal Current Biology, brain nerve stimulation can possibly encourage hand movements in persons who have suffered paralysis of the hand as a result of a spinal injury.

According to the results of a new study that was published recently in the journal Current Biology, brain nerve stimulation can possibly encourage hand movements in persons who have suffered paralysis of the hand as a result of a spinal injury.

These are preliminary findings from the study which involved 19 people.  The persons in the study had suffered spinal cord injuries that had left them with an impaired ability to use their hands and arms.  These people had limited sensation in their hands and arms.

The researchers paired 2 types of noninvasive nerve stimulation to study the effects in such patients.   The first stimulation was electric stimulation targeted at the ulnar nerve in the wrist.  The 2nd stimulation was a transcranial magnetic stimulation.  In this kind of simulation, an electromagnetic coil was placed near the scalp, creating electric currents that targeted cells in the brain that are connected to hand function.

The researchers found that there was temporary improvement in hand function after the treatment.  Persons who received the electric stimulation saw greater muscle strength, and were also able to grasp and move small pegs with their hands.  However, the effects were temporary, and lasted for about 80 minutes.

Spinal injury lawyers understand that it’s too early to get over excited about the findings of this study.  The study sample was really small and consisted only of about 19 people. The kind of improvement seen was also temporary in nature.  However, the researchers believe that this is a step forward in understanding therapies that can help people who have suffered a spinal cord injury regain the use of their arms and hands.  They believe that using portable devices at home that can assist nerve simulation in this manner could help people see longer improvements in hand function over time.

 

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Lancaster, CA 93535
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