An Ohio man has become the recipient of a technology that allows him to his paralyzed hand by using his thoughts.
23-year-old Ian Burkhart from Dublin was paralyzed four years ago during a diving accident. At The Ohio State University Wexner Medial Center , Burkhart is the first patient to receive Neurobridge.
Neurobridge is an electronic neural bypass for spinal cord injuries that reconnects the brain directly to the muscles. This allows for voluntary and functional control of a paralyzed limb by going around the injury.
“It’s much like a heart bypass, but instead of bypassing blood, we’re actually bypassing electrical signals,” said Chad Bouton, research leader at Battelle Memorial Institute told the Medical Center News & Media Room. “We’re taking those signals from the brain, going around the injury, and actually going directly to the muscles.”
The technology has been in co-development between The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center and Battelle. The two teams began their collaboration two years ago, where Chad Bouton collaborated with Ohio State neuroscience researchers and clinicians Dr. Ali Rezai and Dr. Jerry Mysiw.
“I’ve been doing rehabilitation for a lot of years, and this is a tremendous stride forward in what we can offer these people,” said Mysiw, chair of the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Ohio State. “Now we’re examining human-machine interfaces and interactions, and how that type of technology can help.”
Burkhart is optimistic about his future.
“It’s definitely great for me to be as young as I am when I was injured because the advancements in science and technology are growing rapidly and they’re only going to continue to increase.”