From Rodents to Monkeys: Regaining Control Of Paralyzed Legs With Help Of An Implant

“Most of my patients are humans,” says Dr.  Jocelyne Bloch, who works at the Lausanne University Hospital in Switzerland after emerging from a 10-hours procedure she had never preformed.

That day, her patient was a rhesus macaque.

The monkey’s spinal cord had been partially cut. While his brain and legs were fine, the two couldn’t communicate.

Dr. Bloch and her colleagues are testing a device that might circumvent the injured nerves and help the brain talk to the legs another way.

She placed electrodes in the part of the monkey’s brain that controls leg movement, and docked a wireless transmitter on the outside of his skull. Then, she put another set of electrodes along the spinal cord, below the injury. She also implanted an instrument in one leg so they could record muscle activity there.

Six days later, Bloch and her colleagues switched on a device to pick up signals from the electrodes in the monkey’s brain, pass them through a computer, and then send them to the electrodes in the spine.

To see the results, click here .