Restoration of upper limb movement in a monkey with spinal cord injury

Posted By News On April 21, 2013 - 1:43am
Restoration of upper limb movement in a monkey with spinal cord injury

Functional loss of limb control in individuals with spinal cord injury or stroke can be caused by interruption of the neural pathways between brain and spinal cord, although the neural circuits located above and below the lesion remain functional.

An artificial neural connection that bridges the lost pathway and connects brain to spinal circuits has potential to ameliorate the functional loss.

Researchers investigated the effects of introducing a novel artificial neural connection which bridged a spinal cord lesion in a paretic monkey that had a unilateral spinal cord lesion at the C2 level.

The first application bridged the impaired spinal lesion and allowed the monkey to drive the spinal stimulation through volitionally controlled power of high-gamma activity in either the premotor or motor cortex and the second application created an artificial recurrent connection from a paretic agonist muscle to a spinal site.

(A) Electrode locations in the motor areas of the lateral aspect of the frontal lobe of the left (contralesional) hemisphere. Electrodes were placed in primary motor cortex (blue dots) and in dorsal premotor cortex (red dots). (B,C) Somatotopic map shows movements evoked from each site in frontal lobe before (B) and after (C) spinal cord injury. The pre-lesion maps were established by ICMS at movement threshold (20–120 μA). The post-lesion maps were established by ICMS at 450 μA on post-lesional day 14. The maps show the region between the central sulcus (CS: diagonal line to the right of each panel) and the arcuate sulcus (ArcS: curved line to the left). Arrow indicates site used in session illustrated in Figure 3. (D) Drawing of the C2 segments showing the extent of the spinal cord lesion (hatched in black). (E) Electrode location in spinal cord. (a) Electrodes were targeted at the ventral horn and intermediate zone of the spinal cord. (b) Higher magnification view of the location of an electrode tip (black arrow). Credit: doi: 10.3389/fncir.2013.00057

This allowed the monkey to electrically stimulate the spinal cord through volitionally controlled brain activity and thereby to restore volitional control of the paretic hand. This study demonstrates that artificial neural connections can compensate for interrupted descending pathways and promote volitional control of upper limb movement after damage of neural pathways such as spinal cord injury or stroke.

Citation: Nishimura Y, Perlmutter SI, and Fetz EE (2013) Restoration of upper limb movement via artificial corticospinal and musculospinal connections in a monkey with spinal cord injury. Front. Neural Circuits 7:57. doi: 10.3389/fncir.2013.00057

wow, a monkey. why not a human? I always hear about a monkey, dog or rat regaining movement. When the hell is a human gonna walk again? They need a volunteer? I'll be happy to volunteer.

If only it were that simple. No matter how much informed consent you give, if anything at all went wrong the line of lawyers willing to file lawsuits could be seen from space.

The days when Americans could volunteer for bold, experimental, high risk/high reward treatments are gone, and they are never coming back. Because the crackpots who would use informed consent to experiment on people are out there too.

Go somewhere with that tort reform drivel, law suits have very little to do with the slow of scientific discovery and experimentation on humans. The FDA is the reason, the U.S. government like many governments around the world wants to make sure that mad scientist aren't subjecting desperate and helpless individuals to experiments that are not safe, not only for that individuals sake but also to avoid a massive scandal that makes the country look bad.

It is silly to say one part of the problem is not real - outrageous lawsuits that help no one but mean big payouts - while the other - some people will use informed consent on desperate people - you restate.

Defensive medicine is not a problem because of mad scientists or the FDA, it is a problem because people do not want to be sued so they over-test and over-prescribe.

Back to the point, it's funny that you have no problem at all using a mad scientist stereotype but insist greedy lawyers don't exist. Let's guess which field you are in?

if it doesen't work you can just put me outta my misery

I agree with the last comment.

Jeez people, research before volunteering for vaporware! There were similar experiments on human Guinea Pigs back in the 70's or 80's. Read how the computer controled electrodes implanted in limbs broke after flexing for a time. I seem to remember that the poor saps who volunteered for the surgery suffered, not only loss of any function gained, but infections and rejection of the materials, causing all kinds of problems. I vaguely recall that the "researchers'' did not operate to remove the crap they had inserted in these guys, either. I could be wrong about that. There may be different problems developing, here, since these electrodes don't seem to flex, but I expect serious long term issues to show up.

Be very skeptical of any so-called "Doctor" who holds out the promise of healing. They really cannot perform miracles on the level of human physiological complexity. Rebuilding a central nervous system would take a Jesus level of spiritual development towards enlightenment such that healing the sick and raising the dead were everyday occurrences.

If animal rights activists had their way, this type of research wouldn't be allowed.

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