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Nature. 2016 May 12;533(7602):247-50. doi: 10.1038/nature17435. Epub 2016 Apr 13.

Restoring cortical control of functional movement in a human with quadriplegia.

Author information

1
Medical Devices and Neuromodulation, Battelle Memorial Institute, 505 King Avenue, Columbus, Ohio 43201, USA.
2
Center for Neuromodulation, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio 43210, USA.
3
Department of Neurological Surgery, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio 43210, USA.
4
Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio 43210, USA.
5
Advanced Analytics and Health Research, Battelle Memorial Institute, 505 King Avenue, Columbus, Ohio 43201, USA.
6
Department of Psychology, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio 43210, USA.
7
Energy Systems, Battelle Memorial Institute, 505 King Avenue, Columbus, Ohio 43201, USA.

Abstract

Millions of people worldwide suffer from diseases that lead to paralysis through disruption of signal pathways between the brain and the muscles. Neuroprosthetic devices are designed to restore lost function and could be used to form an electronic 'neural bypass' to circumvent disconnected pathways in the nervous system. It has previously been shown that intracortically recorded signals can be decoded to extract information related to motion, allowing non-human primates and paralysed humans to control computers and robotic arms through imagined movements. In non-human primates, these types of signal have also been used to drive activation of chemically paralysed arm muscles. Here we show that intracortically recorded signals can be linked in real-time to muscle activation to restore movement in a paralysed human. We used a chronically implanted intracortical microelectrode array to record multiunit activity from the motor cortex in a study participant with quadriplegia from cervical spinal cord injury. We applied machine-learning algorithms to decode the neuronal activity and control activation of the participant's forearm muscles through a custom-built high-resolution neuromuscular electrical stimulation system. The system provided isolated finger movements and the participant achieved continuous cortical control of six different wrist and hand motions. Furthermore, he was able to use the system to complete functional tasks relevant to daily living. Clinical assessment showed that, when using the system, his motor impairment improved from the fifth to the sixth cervical (C5-C6) to the seventh cervical to first thoracic (C7-T1) level unilaterally, conferring on him the critical abilities to grasp, manipulate, and release objects. This is the first demonstration to our knowledge of successful control of muscle activation using intracortically recorded signals in a paralysed human. These results have significant implications in advancing neuroprosthetic technology for people worldwide living with the effects of paralysis.

PMID:
27074513
DOI:
10.1038/nature17435
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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