Japanese researchers restore hand function to monkey with artificial neural connection

Scientists working together from Japanese and American universities may have made a pretty large leap in restoring neural function for those with non-paralyzing spinal cord injuries. The researchers applied a "novel artificial neuron connection" over lesions in the spinal cord of a partially paralyzed monkey, partially restoring its arm / brain circuit and allowing greater hand control purely by brainpower. The team also created a reverse circuit where muscle activity from the arm stimulated the spinal cord, reinforcing the signals and "boosting ongoing activity in the muscle." There's no word on whether it would help those with full paralysis, though for lesser "paretic" damage, "this might even have a better chance of becoming a real prosthetic treatment rather than the sort of robotic devices that have been developed recently," according to the team. See the source and More Coverage links for more.

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Research team restores monkey's hand function with artificial neural connection