On Thursday, it was announced that patients with old injuries in the spine recovered partial senses and legs’ mobility (and some restarted their sexual life) through an experimental cerebral and physical rehabilitation treatment conducted in Brazil.
Until now the recovery of those functions after so long (3 to 13 years) had never been seen in patients diagnosed with a lower limbs total paralysis,
said Miguel Nicolelis, a scientist from Brazil and head of the research led by Duke University (NC, USA).
This unprecedented progress was made after a year of treatment using a brain-computer interface system, without implanting chips, electrodes or physical stimulators.
The research focused on eight patients who imagined that they could walk at the time that were displayed as avatars in a virtual reality experience, which probably reactivated some nerves that had not been injured.
It was included the use of body support structures for walking through thought. They are called exoskeletons.
A helmet with electrodes allows the patient to receive signals associated with movements sent by the brain and decoded by a software.
The test was carried out in Sao Paulo and it is part of the “Walk Again Project”, which counted on the collaboration of 100 scientists from 25 countries.