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Brain-activated muscle stimulation restores monkeys' hand movement after paralysis
Date:4/18/2012

intentional adjustments in force and grip strength, which are keys to performing everyday tasks naturally and successfully.

This new research moves beyond earlier work from Dr. Miller's group showing that a similar neuroprosthesis restores monkeys' ability to flex or extend the wrist despite paralysis. "With these neural engineering methods, we can take some of the important basic physiology that we know about the brain, and use it to connect the brain directly to muscles," Dr. Miller said. "This connection from brain to muscles might someday be used to help patients paralyzed due to spinal cord injury perform activities of daily living and achieve greater independence."

In 2008, a team led by Eberhard Fetz, Ph.D. at the University of Washington in Seattle coupled the activity of single neurons to an FES device similar to the one used for Miller's study. Monkeys learned to activate individual neurons to control the FES device and move a joystick, and could adapt neurons previously unassociated with wrist movement to complete the task. (See "Scientists Restore Movement to Paralyzed Limbs through Artificial Brain-Muscle Connections") The investigators suggest that this process of learning and adaption plays an important role in how the BCI translates the brain's activity patterns into adaptive control of the FES device.

The unique design of the ball grasp-and-release task used with the animals in this study is a further contribution to advanced neuroprosthetic testing and development. Daofen Chen, Ph.D., a program director at NIH's National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), described how researchers in the field are striving toward devices that will go beyond simple arm movements and allow fine hand and finger movements. "We've learned a lot from non-human primate studies focused on understanding neural control of arm and w
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Contact: NINDS Press Team
nindspressteam@ninds.nih.gov
301-496-5751
NIH/National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
Source:Eurekalert

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