In a heart bypass, surgeons are able to bypass blocked arteries so that patients with heart conditions can continue to enjoy a good quality of life. Now, researchers have found that by using a similar process they are able to help spinal cord injury patients in Miami and other cities. Researchers at Battelle have found that by using electronic neural bypass, they can help spinal cord injury patients reconnect the muscles and the brain directly, allowing patients to regain mobility.
So far, researchers have five potential participants in the clinical study, with one patient already moving his hand after the procedure. According to researchers, the process allows surgeons to bypass injured areas, creating a connection between the brain and the muscles. To complete the procedure, the patient needs brain surgery and needs a port screwed into the skull. A microchip is then connected to the port to complete the procedure.
Researchers are very excited about the initial success of the technology, which has allowed one quadriplegic to move his hand. The man had been paralyzed for four years following a swimming accident. If the clinical trials continue to go well, it is possible that spinal cord injury patients who have been injured in car accidents in Miami and other incidents will eventually be able to use the technology to regain mobility and even walk again.
For people who have injured their spinal cord in workplace accidents in Miami or in any incident, the new technology is exciting for a number of reasons. Unlike other treatments, it can be applied years after the initial injury, which means that even if it takes some time for the technology to be available some spinal cord injury patients injured today could potentially take advantage of the procedure.
Unlike other treatments, the technology also gets to the root of the problem rather than trying to help patients regain some mobility through physical therapy. There is also the undeniably futuristic “cool” factor to the technology. Patients who have the microchip and port can essentially move previously paralyzed limbs just by thinking about it, much as they could before they were injured.
The microchip technology, known as Neurobridge, has been in development for ten years, and essentially works by interpreting brain commands. The chip is about 0.15 inches and the first patient who used the technology responded well to the surgery needed for the chip. He was able to make a fist by concentrating on images of a fist closing, and noted that the process was different than moving his hand before the surgery.