Quadriplegic Moves Hands Again After 6 Years Of Being Paralyzed: Find Out How!
A man who was paralyzed and was not able to use his hands for six years is now able to play video games and do simple things like picking up a bottle. He has planted a small computer chip in his brain that allows his mind to control his hands.
Ian Burkhart, 24, a quadriplegic was planted with a small computer chip in his brain. It bypasses his damaged spinal cord to relay 130 electrodes on his forearms that create muscle movements in his hands and fingers, Fox News reported.
Burkhart demonstrated the technology for the first time in 2014 when he can only open and close his hands. However, the scientists said that he can now do multiple tasks with the more sophisticated finger and hand movements.
The technology can only be used in the laboratory at the moment. The scientists are working to its perfection and planning to use a wireless system that does not need a cable to relay the signals from the brain to the forearm.
"This study marks the first time that a person living with paralysis has regained movement by using signals recorded from within the brain," said bioelectronic medicine researcher Chad Bouton of the New York-based Feinstein Institute for Medical Research, who worked on the study at the Battelle Memorial Institute in Ohio.
According to Burkhart, the technology allows him to function like "a normal member of society." The technology also has the potential to help people who suffered a stroke or traumatic brain injuries, added Bouton.
According to The Guardian, Burkhart had an accident in a beach that broke his neck at the C5 level. He was able to move his arms but not his hand and legs. He received a therapy from a group of doctors at the Ohio State University. He was hoping that advances in medical technology would help him improve his quality of life and said that he was interested in research and willing to be a part of new technology trials.
The Ohio researchers worked on a neural bypass created by Batelle, a charity. They offered Burkhart the chance to have the implant planted.
"That was the million dollar question: do you want to have brain surgery or something that may not benefit you. There are a lot of risks," said Burkhart. "It was certainly something I had to consider for quite some time. But after a meeting with all the team and everyone involved, I knew I was in good hands."