This new technology implanted in the brain has allowed a tetraplegic patient for eight years to be able to move his hands and arms back through the power of his mind. According to The Guardian, the project developed by researchers at Case Western Reserve University in Ohio was the first in the world to achieve such results.
Bill Kochevar, received electrical implants in the cerebral cortex and sensors in his arms, this could allow a stimulation of the muscles to respond to signals from the brain, signals that are decoded through a computer. After eight years with almost total paralysis, Kochevar finally managed to eat and drink alone.
“I think of what I want to do and the system does for me. No need to think too much. When I want something very much, my brain does it”, said the patient.
Kochevar was still undergoing brain surgery to implant the sensors and spent about four months of experiments and training, this time was necessary for the technology to recognize the body signals needed from the cortex. First, the man had 36 arm stimulation electrodes, including four that aided his elbow and shoulder movements.
Thereafter, the muscles were stimulated for 18 weeks, eight hours per week, to improve muscle movement, endurance and fatigue. From there, the technology was interconnected with the brain so that the signals transmitted by it were translated through electrical impulses and provoked the movement of the muscles and nerves of the arm.
“Our research is still very much in the beginning, but we believe that this treatment could offer the possibility of recovering the functions of the arms and hands to the individuals with paralysis to be able to carry out the tasks of the day to day, offering them greater independence. So far, it has only helped a quadriplegic man grab things, feed himself and get a drink. With more development, we believe the technology could enable more precise control, allowing a variety of actions that would certainly turn people’s lives into paralysis”, said Bolu Ajiboye, a physician and one of the study’s lead investigators.
Bill Kochevar was quadriplegic in a bicycle accident, after being hit by a truck, tetraplegia is a paralysis that strikes the four upper and lower limbs of the body. This occurs when the motor and sensory pathways that run through the spinal cord are interrupted at the level of the cervical spine, causing, consequently, lesions in the same. Usually this clinical picture is triggered by car accidents or strokes.