Implants on Paralyzed Man, Groundbreaking Study For Complete Paralysis Patients [VIDEO]
Bill Kochevar, a man from Cleveland with complete paralysis for eight years, has been able to feed himself using his thoughts to send signals and messages from implants attached to his brain to the ones connected to his arm.
Kochevar said he was amazed when he was able to eat feed himself mashed potatoes. Researchers noted that the implants on paralyzed man were the first time anyone has been able to restore brain-controlled grasping and reaching, in a person with complete paralysis.
Bill got paralyzed after being involved in a cycling accident where he ran into the back of a mail van while joining a 150-mile bike ride. After the incident, Bill Kochevar couldn't move his body from the shoulders down to his toes, the BBC reported.
BrainGate, a consortium of researchers testing brain-computer interface technology, conducted the research that Kochevar participated in. He started taking part in the research three years ago- he was 53 back then- and now, at 56, the implants on paralyzed man already allowed him to move muscles in his arm, the Reuters noted in an article.
Surgeries were made to place sensors in Bill Kochevar's motor cortex areas near the brain which is responsible for hand movement. Afterward, he spent four months using those implanted sensors to command movements of a three-dimensional virtual arm.
When the surgeries were done, Kochevar already had 36 electrode implants in his hand and arm to electrically stimulate his hand, shoulder muscles, and elbow; which then allows the researchers to decode and translate brain signals into commands for the electrodes in his arm.
Dr. Bolu Ajiboye, the lead author of the research from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio believe that even though the research is still in the early stages of development, the technology of neuroprosthesis could offer paralyzed individuals the possibility of regaining hand and arm functions to offer the patients greater independence.
Although the study of implants on paralyzed man was groundbreaking, Dr. Steve Perlmutter of the University of Washington warned that the treatment is not even close to being ready for use outside the laboratory.