Scientists have made a huge progress after having successfully used a leg implant to restore movement in paralyzed primates.
As a result of their spinal cords being damaged, the rhesus monkeys were paralyzed on one side of their legs.
But the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology group was determined to solve the problem. They sent instructions right from the brain to the nerves that are responsible for leg movement.
This is a technology that is still being improved and humans may start using it in the next decade.
leg paralysis in primate – how serious are spinal cord injuries?
Paralysis occurs after the spinal cords have blocked the movement of electrical signals from the brain to the other parts of the body. This wound has in many occasions failed to heal but technology can be used to bypass the injury.
In order for the study to be done, the scientists implanted a chip in the part of the monkey brain that is in control of movement. The chip was used to read electrical activity and then send it to the nearby computer.
It converted the messages and then used them to stimulate the parts that were affected.
After the study came to an end, the findings were that the monkeys had gotten back the control of their paralyzed led. Within six days of the experiment, they were able to walk in a straight line.
One of the research participants, Dr Gregoire Courtine, said that “This is the first time that a neurotechnology has restored locomotion in primates.”
He said that the primates movement was close to normal but they are yet to test on steering.
This technology is not a new one. It is the same that is used in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease. For that matter, testing it on patients will not be violating any rights.