Ohio residents may be aware that brain or spinal cord injury may result in paralysis. Often such injuries are related to a motor vehicle accident or a fall. In such cases, the injured individual may no longer be able to walk or use his or her arms. Recent advances in technology that enable the use of brain-guided prostheses are holding out hope for many people.
A brain-guided prosthesis makes use of the knowledge scientists have into the way the brain controls movement. Even simple reach and grab movements may involve the use of thousands of neurons. It is possible to access several hundred neurons, only a fraction of what is actually used. In order to make brain control of prosthetics possible, scientists are working on algorithms that statistically modify the process to accommodate working with a significantly smaller sample.
In order to make keyboard prostheses work, scientists at Stanford studied the movement monkeys made when reaching for something. By doing this, the scientists are hoping to enable virtual keyboards for paralyzed individuals. Using the person’s thoughts to activate neurons capable of stimulating movement, the keyboards might be useful for those where the connections between neurons were disseminated by trauma. However, keyboard testing remains at 76 percent accuracy.
Recently, the Stanford team was awarded permission by the Food and Drug Administration to enter into clinical trials testing the use of a brain-controlled cursor. While devices are in use using eye or head movement to guide a cursor, this new technology may help traumatic brain injury victims become more independent.
If an individual is involved in an accident caused by the negligence of another person that results in paralysis, speaking to an attorney may be beneficial. The attorney may review the case and help file a lawsuit to recover all appropriate damages from the responsible party.