Friday Monkey Blogging: Brain Signal Device Helps Monkeys With Paralyzed Wrists Play Computer Games
As I mentioned a few weeks ago, I have started a regularly recurring blog entry meme every Friday afternoon, inspired by Bruce Schneier's regular series of "Friday Squid Blogging" posts, and my very own maddening Monkey Theory.
Here is this week's installment.
An AP newswire article by Malcolm Ritter, via ABC News, reports that:
Monkeys taught to play a computer game were able to overcome wrist paralysis with an experimental device that might lead to new treatments for patients with stroke and spinal cord injury.More here.
Remarkably, the monkeys regained use of paralyzed muscles by learning to control the activity of just a single brain cell.
The result is "an important step forward," said Dawn Taylor of Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, who studies the concept of using brain signals to overcome paralysis. She wasn't involved in the new work.
The device monitored the activity of a brain cell and used that as a cue to stimulate wrist muscles electrically. Researchers found it could even use brain cells that normally had nothing to do with wrist movement, said study co-author Chet Moritz.
Image source: Yves Herman / Reuters / ABC News