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Neural Bypass Technology Enables Movement in Paralyzed Patient

Battelle scientists and The Ohio State University (Ohio, USA) doctors have implanted Neurobridge, an electronic neural bypass for spinal cord injuries that reconnects the brain directly to muscles, enabling voluntary and functional control of a paralyzed limb.

The Neurobridge technology combines algorithms that learn and decode the user's brain activity and a high-definition muscle stimulation sleeve that translates neural impulses from the brain and transmits new signals to the paralyzed limb.

Starting a decade ago, Battelle scientists first recorded neural impulses from an electrode array implanted in a paralyzed person's brain.

They used that data to illustrate the device's effect on the patient and prove the concept. Two years ago, the Battelle team began collaborating with Ohio State neuroscientists to design the clinical trials and validate the feasibility of using the Neurobridge technology in patients.

In April 2014, a quadriplegic man received an implanted chip smaller than a pea on the motor cortex of his brain. The tiny chip interprets brain signals and sends them to a computer, which recodes and sends them to the high-definition electrode stimulation sleeve that stimulates the proper muscles to execute his desired movements.

Battelle also developed a non-invasive neurostimulation technology in the form of a wearable sleeve that allows for precise activation of small muscle segments in the arm to enable individual finger movement, along with software that forms a 'virtual spinal cord' to allow for coordination of dynamic hand and wrist movements.

The Ohio State and Battelle teams worked together to figure out the correct sequence of electrodes to stimulate to allow the patient's to move his fingers and hand functionally.

July, 2014

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