Electrical stimulation of the spinal cord allows partially paralyzed monkeys to move their arms


Electrodes implanted in the necks of three monkeys with partial arm paralysis stimulated nerves in the spinal cord and amplified the signals of nerve cells that survived the paralysis.


June 30, 2022

Rhesus monkey

Ivan Kmit / Alamy

Spinal cord stimulation restored the partially paralyzed arm movements of the three monkeys.

He says it ’s very difficult to recover the movement of the upper limbs. Marco Capogrosso At the University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Arm movements are more complex than leg movements, and leg movements are easier to recover after paralysis, he says.

Electrical stimulation was previously used on a person’s paralyzed arm, but surgery is invasive and requires complex machine learning software to decode and transform the activity of nerve cells.

Capogrosso and his colleagues wanted to test whether an alternative form of spinal cord stimulation was an easier and more effective way to restore upper limb movement without computerized conversion of neural signals. rice field.

Initially, the team performed several MRI scans of the spinal cords of three monkeys. This allowed us to design electrodes that specifically target the spinal nerves of the primate neck, which control hand and arm movements.

They then surgically paralyzed the monkey’s left arm under complete anesthesia. The animals were given analgesics and were given several days to recover from surgery.

Next, electrodes were transplanted into the monkey’s neck to stimulate the nerves in the neck of the spinal cord at the bottom of the neck. It amplified the signal produced by the nerve cells that survived the paralysis. “For the vast majority of human paralysis, you always have some preliminary connections,” says Capoglosso.

Before the stimulus was turned on, one monkey could not reach for the object with its paralyzed arm, and the other two animals could reach for the object, but grabbed it. I couldn’t pull it.

However, immediately after turning on the stimulus, the first monkey was able to reach for the object, but not grab or pull it. The other two animals grabbed and pulled the object, but only about a week after the stimulus was turned on.

Within the 6-week period of the experiment, no monkey was able to control individual fingers. Regarding the therapeutic potential in humans, Capogrosso states: “For now, this stimulus does not seem to restore the ability to write or play the piano.”

Nevertheless, he is convinced that this technique will one day be effective for humans. “This is the power of monkey research,” he says. “We know that this is very likely to work in humans.”

Capoglosso is recruiting people with post-stroke paralysis for clinical trials in the United States to test similar stimulation methods. “It will take years for humans to get the first results,” he says.

“I think this kind of work is very interesting,” he says. Charles Liu At the University of California. “I am convinced that spinal cord neural regulation is an important strategy for human functional neural recovery.

“Certainly, the studies reported by the authors clearly show the vast potential of this approach. If we can learn more about spinal cord function and unleash the potential inherent in the spinal cord itself, the results will definitely improve. Will be. “

Journal reference: Nature Neuroscience, DOI: 10.1038 / s41593-022-01106-5

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Electrical stimulation of the spinal cord allows partially paralyzed monkeys to move their arms

Source link Electrical stimulation of the spinal cord allows partially paralyzed monkeys to move their arms

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