An international team of scientists managed to get Gert-Jan Oskam, a 40-year-old Dutchman who suffered a spinal cord injury in a bicycle accident that left him paralyzed in 2011walk again thanks to a new and experimental technology that restores communication between the brain and spinal cord.
It’s about a digital bridge allowed him to regain control over the movement of his paralyzed legswhich allowed him stand up, walk and even climb stairsas explained by the scientists in an article published this Wednesday in the scientific journal ‘Nature’.
Two types of electronic implants are needed to establish these connections. First of all, you implanted devices in the region of the brain responsible for controlling leg movements and secondly also connected a neurostimulator to an electrode array over the region of the spinal cord It controls the movement of the legs.
“Thanks to algorithms based on adaptive artificial intelligence methods, movement intentions are decoded in real time from brain recordings,” explained one of the people in charge of the research, Guillaume Charvet.
Then these intentions become sequences of electrical stimulation of the spinal cordwhich in turn activate the leg muscles to achieve the desired movement. This digital bridge works wirelessly, allowing the patient to move autonomously.
Rehabilitation thanks to this digital bridge, which has only been tested on Gert-Jan, allowed her to recover the neurological functions she had lost since her accident.