Scientists at the Washington National Primate Research Center have found a way to restore movement to paralyzed monkeys through the use of brain implants. Equipped with roving electrodes, these implants seek out and restore neural connections between in the brain and the rest of the body necessary for movement. According to the New Scientist, the monkey was able to move its wrist on a paralyzed arm. According to researchers, when someone becomes paralyzed, the neurons that control movement remain active, only missing the actual bridge between the brain and the body. These neurons remain alive and emit signals for years after paralysis. The electrodes are able to detect where the strongest movement signal is coming from, and attach itself to that area of the brain. So far connections only last for about four weeks or so, but researchers hope to improve on this implement the breakthrough on humans. [New Scientist]
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Brain Electrode Implants Helps Paralyzed Monkey Regain Arm Movement
It is truly amazing when technology can help restore arm movement to a lame chimp. Here's a video of it waving its arm.
Sadly, no one in the video seemed very impressed.