News

February 26, 2013

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When an individual is injured through the negligent acts of another, there are various paths to legal recourse available. One of these involves filing a personal injury lawsuit against the responsible party. A successful Pennsylvania lawsuit can result in the award of damages to the victim, which can then be used to pay for medical expenses and future treatment needs. One recent technological breakthrough gives an excellent example of the types of treatment that could be available in the near future, and the importance of securing funding for these types of medical needs.

Researchers have developed a brain implant that can successfully translate thoughts to external action. The breakthrough was achieved with the help of a 30-year-old man who is paralyzed from the shoulders down due to a spinal cord injury. Researchers began by scanning his brain function using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) while he was watching video footage of various arm movements. This allowed researchers to pinpoint the areas of the brain believed to control arm movement.

Next, they implanted a postage-stamp sized electrode grid on top of that portion of his brain. Wires were channeled out of his body and connected to a computer. The man was then able to move a computer image by simply thinking about making the movement. He was later successful in operating a robotic arm by though alone.

The potential for applications of this technology is astounding. However, the types of assistive devices that may eventually come from this work will undoubtedly be expensive. For Pennsylvania residents who have suffered spinal cord injuries through the negligent action of others, a personal injury suit that leads to an award of damages could bring this type of technology within reach, thereby improving the quality of life for the victim.

Source: nanowerk.com, “Spinal cord-injured man controls robot arm with thoughts,” Feb. 9, 2013