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Study approved for clinical trials to assist motor function

Colorado residents may know that a spinal cord injury may impact motor function and dramatically impact an individual's life. However, a team being led by an engineer from Stanford has developed a brain-controlled device that may allow a motor-impaired individual to move using his or her thought processes.

The prosthesis works by reading a sample of a neuron and making adjustments in the electrical pattern of the brain. In actual operation, the user may use it to use a tablet, computer or an electronically-operated wheelchair. The research was conducted by studying arm movements of monkeys to work out how nervous impulses worked and involved many years of study. By transferring it into an algorithm, scientists were able to improve the precision of thought controlled processes.

The experiment was conducted by calculating the number of times the monkeys' brains were measured as having having controlled taps made using a cursor. Although the monkeys were physically using their fingers to do so, the aim was to count the number of times the virtual pathways were adjusted by the algorithm. The result was that the virtual tapping resulted in about 90 percent of the speed of an actual tap. The Food and Drug Administration has given the team permission to continue research using human subjects. It is hoped that it will benefit those with impaired motor function such as patients with ALS or other neurological diseases.

Those who have suffered spinal cord injuries as a result of an accident caused by another party may face extensive medical bills, loss of income and permanent disability. Injured victims may want to speak with a personal injury attorney to determine if there is any recourse for seeking compensation from the responsible party .

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