Paralysed man walks again via thought controlled implants

According To- Paralysed man walks again via thought-controlled implants , A paralyzed man was able to walk again after two implants connected his brain and spinal cord

Paralysed man

Two implants connected his brain and spinal cord by thought control technology helped a paralyzed man walk again.

Guillaume Charvet (Head of the Brain-Computer Interface Program at the CEA in France), Henri Lorach (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL)), Lausanne University Hospital (CHUV) and Lausanne University (UNIL)), Gert-Jan (a 40 year old victim of a spinal cord injury that left him paralysed, who did not wish to give his surname from the Netherlands), Jocelyne Bloch (Neurosurgeon and professor from Switzerland), and Gregoire Courtine (Professor of neuroscience from Switzerland) all posed together for a press conference in Lausanne on May 23, 2020.

A paralyzed man regained the ability to walk smoothly using only his thoughts for the first time on Wednesday, researchers said, thanks to two implants that restored communication between his brain and spinal cord. The breakthrough gave Gert-Jan a new sense of freedom that he had never had before, he said.

Since sustaining a spinal cord injury during a bicycle accident, the 40-year-old Dutchman has been paralyzed in his legs for more than a decade. According to a study published in Nature, he can now walk “naturally”, take on difficult terrain and even climb stairs using a new system.

An international team of researchers led by scientists in France and Switzerland developed the technological advancement more than a decade ago. Three paralyzed people were able to walk again last year after receiving electric pulses from a spinal cord implant. In order to move their legs, they had to press a button each time. Gert-Jan, who also has a spinal implant, said this made it challenging to get into the rhythm of taking a “natural step”. Read Also- A Guide To Bulking At Home During The COVID-19 Pandemic!

Bridges made of digital data

The latest research combines the spinal implant with a new technology called a brain-computer interface, which is implanted above the part of the brain that controls leg movement. Researchers said the interface uses artificial intelligence algorithms to decode brain recordings in real time. The interface, created by CEA researchers, can then figure out how the person wants to move their legs at any time.

The data is transmitted to the spinal cord implant via a portable device that fits in a walker or small backpack, so they can get around without help from others. A digital bridge is built between the spinal cord and brain using the two implants created by Gert-Jan’s accident, according to the researchers. As soon as I think about making a step, the stimulation kicks in,” Gert-Jan says, “Now I can do whatever I want.”

As a result of undergoing twice invasive surgery to implant both devices, he told a press conference in Lausanne, Switzerland, that the journey has been long. He is now able to enjoy a beer with friends again at a bar, among other things. “This simple pleasure represents a significant change in my life,” he said.

Different in a radical way

He said the study was “radically different” from what had previously been accomplished, according to Gregoire Courtine, a neuroscientist at Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne. In a press conference in Lausanne, he told reporters, “Previous patients walked with a lot of effort — now you just have to think about walking to take a step.”

As another positive sign, Gert-Jan was able to walk with crutches when the “digital bridge” was turned off after six months of training.

Guillaume Charvet, a researcher at France’s CEA, informed AFP that this could imply the formation of a connection between the brain and spine, which would lead to the reformation of neuronal networks at the site of injury. When asked when this technology could become available to those suffering from paralysis globally, Charvet stated it will take “many more years” before they can reach that point. However, preparation for a trial to determine if the technique can restore arm and hand functions is already underway. Additionally, it is also envisioned that it may be applicable in cases such as paralysis experienced due to stroke. Recommended-The 10 Best At-Home Workout & Fitness Programs Right Now!