Cats can be bros sometimes.
For the first time ever, a paralyzed man can move his fingers and hand with his own thoughts thanks to an innovative partnership between The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center and Battelle.
Ian Burkhart, a 23-year-old quadriplegic from Dublin, Ohio, is the first patient to use Neurobridge, an electronic neural bypass for spinal cord injuries that reconnects the brain directly to muscles, allowing voluntary and functional control of a paralyzed limb. Burkhart is the first of a potential five participants in a clinical study.
“It’s much like a heart bypass, but instead of bypassing blood, we’re actually bypassing electrical signals,” said Chad Bouton, research leader at Battelle. “We’re taking those signals from the brain, going around the injury, and actually going directly to the muscles.”
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. In this case, Ian’s brain signals bypass his injured spinal cord and move his hand, hence the name Neurobridge.
Burkhart, who was paralyzed four years ago during a diving accident, viewed the opportunity to participate in the six-month, FDA-approved clinical trial at Ohio State’s Wexner Medical Center as a chance to help others with spinal cord injuries.
“Initially, it piqued my interested because I like science, and it’s pretty interesting,” Burkhart said. “I’ve realized, ‘You know what? This is the way it is. You’re going to have to make the best out of it.’ You can sit and complain about it, but that’s not going to help you at all. So, you might as well work hard, do what you can and keep going on with life.”
This technology has been a long time in the making. Working on the internally-funded project for nearly a decade to develop the algorithms, software and stimulation sleeve, 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, Bouton and his team began collaborating with Ohio State neuroscience researchers and clinicians Dr. Ali Rezai and Dr. Jerry Mysiwto design the clinical trials and validate the feasibility of using the Neurobridge technology in patients.
During a three-hour surgery on April 22, Rezai implanted a chip smaller than a pea onto the motor cortex of Burkhart’s 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. Within a tenth of a second, Burkhart’s thoughts are translated into action.
“The surgery required the precise implantation of the micro-chip sensor in the area of Ian’s brain that controls his arm and hand movements,” Rezai said.
He said this technology may one day help patients affected by various brain and spinal cord injuries such as strokes and traumatic brain injury.
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 Burkhart to move his fingers and hand functionally. For example, Burkhart uses different brain signals and muscles to rotate his hand, make a fist or pinch his fingers together to grasp an object, Mysiw said. As part of the study, Burkhart worked for months using the electrode sleeve to stimulate his forearm to rebuild his atrophied muscles so they would be more responsive to the electric stimulation.
“I’ve been doing rehabilitation for a lot of years, and this is a tremendous stride forward in what we can offer these people,” said Mysiw, chair of the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Ohio State. “Now we’re examining human-machine interfaces and interactions, and how that type of technology can help.”
Burkhart is hopeful for his future.
“It’s definitely great for me to be as young as I am when I was injured because the advancements in science and technology are growing rapidly and they’re only going to continue to increase.”
So, this happened during the USA vs Germany game last Thursday, and this is what I have to say…
- you have 5 dual national German-Americans on your team. Remember that when you insult half their identity.
- using the hashtag ‘#backtobackworldwarchamps’ does not make you funny. It may make you feel better, but it also makes you look incredible stupid.
- Germans are aware of their past. They are constantly battling with the actions of their ancestors. Many have little to no “Nationalstolz” (national pride) because they have seen where blind trust and loyalty can lead, and therefore may be proud of individual moments or specific things like their Fußball team, but not necessarily of “Germany” as a whole. (For a concrete example: In America, I see US flags everywhere- on front porches, in front of many business buildings, and schools, and on the lapels of politicians– it’s an everyday thing. The only German flags I would see during my day in Germany are at the Parliament building and now as a few fans stumble home after watching a Fußball game.)
- Not all Germans living during WW2 were Nazis, just like not all US citizens supported the invasion of Iraq.
- Please stop making such stupid comments. Support your team, yes, and wave your flag and go ahead and hate on the German team itself, but believe me- Germans hate on themselves enough without you making tasteless comments about their past.
Thanks. Feel free to send me an ask if you want to talk about it– whether or not you agree, I’d love to hear your thoughts.
The Flying Snake, Chrysopelea.
While ‘flying’ snake may be a misnomer, these snakes can glide for longer than the length of a football field. They do so by ‘inverting’ the undersides of their bodies into a concave shape, causing air to be trapped beneath it allowing them to slither through the air, changing both their velocity and direction at will.
Actually you’re not considered dead when your heart stops beating. This is why many medical professionals still try to revive those whose hearts have stopped. Because medicine and science has found that death is not considered when your heart as stopped, but once all brain activity has ceased. Which is why they usually have around six minutes before there is no chance to revive. Because when the heart has stopped, your brain cells are deprived of oxygen and start to die.
Fetuses do not have regular brain activity until 25 weeks. At this point in gestation the only time an abortion would be performed is out of medical necessity to save the mother’s life, or to spare the fetus from a short and painful life. These only make up 1% of all abortions. And therefore by this argument, but with the knowledge of what is actually classified as death, a fetus isn’t ‘alive’ until roughly 25 weeks. Far after 99% of abortions are performed.
Please do actual research before trying to use emotional manipulative photos of babies that are born and NOT fetusesbefore parading it out and believing it as fact. Because you are only seriously misinforming yourself, and many others and furthering contributing to a movement that tries to control women’s bodies, when what they do with it does not affect you.
If you are so adamant about helping lives, try doing things for those who are in need and are actually sentient beings. Volunteer at a soup kitchen, donate to an organization that helps feed hungry children, support adoption of older children who are in foster care and are more likely to age out. But this? This does nothing.
Well, that backfired beautifully.
Beginners Guide to Variable Stars and Binary Stars by Joe Song
Sorry for neglecting the science blog. My life has been a little hectic lately.
It looks like I will be taking the next year off of school to work and sort my life out. Between hospital bill and some personal issues I don’t think I’ll be able to keep up with my schooling.
However I do intend to return to school and finish my physics degree. In the meantime I will try harder to find time to post on here and bring you all some fresh science stories.
In other news I am helping my mother expand her antique and craft shop to the online realm. I started a tumblr for her shop called the-rain-day-attic in order to pre advertise for the shop. Go have a look and let me know if you like anything (so far all i’ve got up are some wooden coyotes but more will be coming soon). The online store will be coming soon for anyone who likes antiques, crafts, or art works.