BY UNIVERSITY OF PITTSBURGH: For Complete Post, Click Here…
A neurotechnology that stimulates the spinal cord instantly improves arm and hand mobility, enabling people affected by moderate to severe stroke to conduct their normal daily activities more easily, report researchers from the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University today (February 20, 2023) in the journal Nature Medicine.
A pair of thin metal electrodes resembling strands of spaghetti implanted along the neck engage intact neural circuits, allowing stroke patients to fully open and close their fist, lift their arm above their head or use a fork and knife to cut a piece of steak for the first time in years.
“We discovered that electrical stimulation of specific spinal cord regions enables patients to move their arm in ways that they are not able to do without the stimulation. Perhaps even more interesting, we found that after a few weeks of use, some of these improvements endure when the stimulation is switched off, indicating exciting avenues for the future of stroke therapies,” said corresponding and co-senior author Marco Capogrosso, Ph.D., assistant professor of neurological surgery at Pitt. “Thanks to years of preclinical research building up to this point, we have developed a practical, easy-to-use stimulation protocol adapting existing FDA-approved clinical technologies that could be easily translated to the hospital and quickly moved from the lab to the clinic.”