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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2013 Dec 24;110(52):21177-82. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1316885110. Epub 2013 Dec 9.

Restoration of function after brain damage using a neural prosthesis.

Author information

  • 1Departments of Molecular and Integrative Physiology and Biostatistics, and Landon Center on Aging, Kansas University Medical Center, Kansas City, KS 66160.


Neural interface systems are becoming increasingly more feasible for brain repair strategies. This paper tests the hypothesis that recovery after brain injury can be facilitated by a neural prosthesis serving as a communication link between distant locations in the cerebral cortex. The primary motor area in the cerebral cortex was injured in a rat model of focal brain injury, disrupting communication between motor and somatosensory areas and resulting in impaired reaching and grasping abilities. After implantation of microelectrodes in cerebral cortex, a neural prosthesis discriminated action potentials (spikes) in premotor cortex that triggered electrical stimulation in somatosensory cortex continuously over subsequent weeks. Within 1 wk, while receiving spike-triggered stimulation, rats showed substantially improved reaching and grasping functions that were indistinguishable from prelesion levels by 2 wk. Post hoc analysis of the spikes evoked by the stimulation provides compelling evidence that the neural prosthesis enhanced functional connectivity between the two target areas. This proof-of-concept study demonstrates that neural interface systems can be used effectively to bridge damaged neural pathways functionally and promote recovery after brain injury.


brain–machine–brain interface; closed-loop; long-term potentiation; neural plasticity; traumatic brain injury

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