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

rist movements," said Dr. Chen. "Dr. Miller's study builds on those efforts and focuses on the complex hand and finger movements needed to grasp an object."

FES devices are currently used for foot drop, a clinical condition seen in patients with stroke or partial spinal cord injury where weak or paralyzed muscles cause the toes to catch on the ground while walking, leading to trips and falls. FES can be activated with shoe sensors, or coordinated with walking movements, to stimulate muscles and lift the toes at the appropriate time during a step.

Other FES devices in current clinical use take advantage of the patient's residual muscle activity. For example, a prosthetic arm can use sensors built into the shoulder, sensing a shrugging motion that is used to stimulate muscles to open or close the hand. However, this is a less precise and less natural method of control, and it is not an option for patients with higher level spinal cord injuries and little or no shoulder and arm movement. For these patients, the creation of a brain-controlled FES device that connects brain activity directly to muscle stimulation would provide an opportunity to restore hand function.

The temporary nerve block used in the current study is a useful model of paralysis, but it does not replicate the chronic changes that occur after prolonged brain and spinal cord injuries, Dr. Miller cautioned. He said the next steps include testing this system in primate models of long-term paralysis, and studying how the brain changes as it continues to use this neuroprosthesis.


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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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