Researchers in Australia have developed a new revolutionary bionic spine, which could transform the lives of paralysed people in the future.
The device which is a mere 3cm in length will enable paralysed people to walk again through the use of subconscious thought. The device will be implanted into the blood vessels leading to the brain, through a tiny cut in the neck. Once in position it will rest on top of the motor cortex, which is the part of the brain responsible for voluntary muscle movements. Tiny electrodes on the device will detect brain signals and send them to another device implanted in the shoulder.
These signals will then, in turn, be converted into commands that will control the bionic limbs and instruct them how and when to move.
In comparison to other research and procedures that have been undertaken for spinal injuries and paralysis, the installation of this device and the surgery required is minimal, and can take as little as a couple of hours.
Professor Terry O’Brien, Head of Medicine at the Royal Melbourne hospital’s neurological department commented on the development of the device and described it as the ‘holy grail’ and a huge breakthrough in spinal injury treatment. He commented, “Calling it the bionic spine is a bit of a catchphrase. It’s a device that’s implanted in a blood vessel that can be implanted non-invasively – it does not require neurosurgery.”
He continues, “The problem with someone who is paralysed is that they still have signals in the brain but they can’t be transmitted to the limbs because they have spinal cord injury. What this allows you to do is to bypass this, which is why it’s been called the bionic spine.
"It bypasses the break in transmission between the brain and the limbs. It’ll then potentially allow these brain intentions to be translated into movement using an exoskeleton or even a powered wheelchair.”
At CFG Law, we are always excited to learn of new and innovative technologies to help people with spinal cord injuries and paralysis. We help many people whose lives have been devastated by serious spinal injuries and welcome new technology and medical advances that can help improve the quality of life of seriously injured people.
If you, or someone you love, have sustained a spinal injury in an accident, CFG Law can help. We are specialist serious injury solicitors with many years’ experience helping people after a catastrophic accident.