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

d that we have the opportunity to bring together such extraordinary researchers, all focused on restoring mobility, communication, and independence for people with paralysis."

"The ultimate goal here in Cleveland is to enable a paralyzed individual to control their own limb," said Dr. Walter. "We have the experience to put the two systems together."

"Being able to map brain activity, at the level of even a few dozen individual neurons, is fundamental to understanding how the brain works," said Donoghue, Director of the Institute for Brain Science at Brown University and the VA Center for Neurorestoration and Neurotechnology. "Even more importantly, our emerging ability to 'decode' this brain activity in real time could eventually restore neurologic functions lost as a result of disease or injury."

Kirsch is among the experts in Cleveland who use functional electrical stimulation (FES) to enable paralyzed individuals to regain some control over their arms and hands. His research group studies how the nervous system normally controls movement and patterns of muscle activation. From that, they have developed computer software and hardware that sends electrical impulses to electrodes implanted in the arm of a patient, stimulating muscles to lift the arm and reach or grasp a cup. FES technology was pioneered in Cleveland over 20 years ago by Hunter Peckham, Distinguished University Professor and Donnell Institute Professor of biomedical engineering at CWRU.

But, in the severest cases, the treatment has yet to restore the function these scientists think is possible. Individuals with profound paralysis have difficulty giving their FES systems commands, which is why the brain recording technology is so enticing to the research team.

To better understand the relationship between brain activity and movement, BrainGate2 users will be asked to learn to control a "virtual arm" by thought. In the planned research, they will attempt to
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Contact: Kevin Mayhood
kevin.mayhood@case.edu
216-368-4442
Case Western Reserve University
Source:Eurekalert

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