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Case Western Reserve University joins BrainGate clinical trial
Date:2/21/2013

CLEVELAND Researchers at Case Western Reserve University and its primary affiliate University Hospitals (UH) Case Medical Center will begin testing the first of two technologies they plan to combine in a new effort to enable people with paralysis to regain some control of their arms and hands.

The physicians and scientists are now enrolling participants in the first part of this effort, a pilot clinical trial to assess the safety and feasibility of recording brain activity for control of assistive devices. The brain activity is recorded as the participants imagine using their arms and hands.

Long-term, the goal is to bypass severed connections between the brain and the paralyzed muscles by using the participants' own brain signals as commands directing electrical impulses to their muscles and generating movement. To do this, the investigational brain recording technology studied in this trial will be combined with CWRU's long-standing expertise in restoring movement to paralyzed individuals using electrical stimulation.

Robert Kirsch, chair of the Case Western Reserve University biomedical engineering department and executive director of the Functional Electrical Stimulation Center of Excellence at the Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center, has been working with researchers at Brown University and Massachusetts General Hospital for nearly seven years, laying the groundwork for launching the study site in Cleveland.

"When we ask patients with tetraplegia their number one priority, they tell us they want to rub their nose and eyes," Kirsch said. "It's the simple things they can't do. They rely on caregivers for everything, and these technologies could restore some independence."

Kirsch will lead the team in Cleveland with Benjamin Walter, MD, and Jonathan Miller, MD, who are assistant professors at Case Western Reserve Medical School and on staff at UH Case Medical Center. Dr. Walter, principal investigator for
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Contact: Kevin Mayhood
kevin.mayhood@case.edu
216-368-4442
Case Western Reserve University
Source:Eurekalert

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