Science Articles

WHAT TECHNOLOGIES ARE IN DEVELOPMENT TO HELP PEOPLE WHO ARE PARALYZED?

Paralysis represents a loss of muscle function in some or all parts of the body.


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WHAT TECHNOLOGIES ARE IN DEVELOPMENT TO HELP PEOPLE WHO ARE PARALYZED?

When it comes to offering assistive help to disabled people, scientists are making new inventions. Paralysis represents a loss of muscle function in some or all parts of the body. This happens owing to the wiring problem in the brain which hinders the information flow from muscle to the brain. It can be partial or complete, occurring on both or one side of the body.

TECHNOLOGIES FOR HELPING PARALYSED PEOPLE

REVERSING PARALYSIS – THE CONCEPT

Even though it would take another decade or so for the technology to be complete, but scientists are making progress in using brain implants. Brain implants are being used for regaining the freedom of movement that any injury to spinal cord takes away.

The study was published in Brain journal which cited the results from a team of researchers and scientists. National Institutes of Health and Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation have funded the research. The scientists belonged to the University of Louisville, UCLA along with Pavlov Institute of Physiology.

ON ANIMALS

In an experiment, one neuroscientist paralysed the monkey’s right leg for walking and then urged it to move on the treadmill. His team installed a recording device below the skull which touched the motor cortex along with a pad of flexible electrodes lying beneath the spinal cord of the monkey.

The two electronic devices were joined by a wireless connection. Electrical stimulation was created right to the monkey’s spine which made it move and walk. The progress gave hope to the scientists regarding its effect on humans.

ON HUMANS

Brain implants to machines have enabled few people to use robotic arms with their thoughts. Four people diagnosed with motor and sensory complete paralysis were also taken as samples. They weren’t expected to get back any function. However, they showed good improvements. The stimulator acted like brain signals in spinal cord sent for initiation of movement.

These people were able to control their body parts again and feel normal. After months of practice, the subjects could do regular tasks with comfort and east. The project is still in progress for optimum use but the complete application will allow paralysed people to feel normal again.

There are various technological advances needed including wireless transmission of signals to the brain. The research work is still on in this field. More paralysed people are being researched upon. The day isn’t far when updated stimulator technology will enable people to walk again.