Chip in Brain Brings Hope to Patient
By: Cohen, Placitella & Roth @ May 16, 2016
In an astounding medical achievement, doctors at Ohio State University were recently able to help restore sensation and movement in a quadriplegic’s hand using a microchip implanted in the person’s brain. This enabled the patient to complete simple tasks that he had previously been unable to perform. The patient – 24-year-old Ian Burkhart – had lost sensation to his limbs and was paralyzed from the chest down after injuring his neck in a diving accident. Although the treatment technology is still in the developmental phase and must undergo additional refinement before being ready to provide independence and mobility to paraplegics and quadriplegics, the achievement of Mr. Burkhart and his medical team are sure to provide hope to victims of spinal cord injuries.
Making the Hand Move Again
At present, Mr. Burkhart’s abilities to move his hand and complete simple tasks like pouring liquid from a container and playing a simple video game are due to a microchip implanted in his brain that was able to transmit different signals sent by the brain when Mr. Burkhart attempted to move his hand and/or fingers in various ways. A computer would then “read” the series of transmissions and transmit an electrical impulse to the appropriate muscle or muscles in Mr. Burkhart’s hand. In this way, doctors were able to “bypass” Mr. Burkhart’s damaged nerves and transmit the impulses necessary to complete basic hand motions to the muscles in his arm and hand. Mr. Burkhart described the joy of being able to “feel” his hand again.
Hope for Victims with Spinal Cord Injuries
Accidents like Mr. Burkhart’s, car crashes, and serious slips and/or falls are all capable of damaging the spinal column and the nerves contained therein. If these nerves are damaged or severed, paralysis is almost certain to follow. The location of the damage determines the extent of the paralysis: for example, if the injury occurs in the lower portion of the spinal column, the person may only experience paralysis in his or her legs. Conversely, as in Mr. Burkhart’s case, a neck injury can affect the person’s arms and legs.
In the past, victims of spinal cord or neck injuries faced a future of dependence. Although they may be able to complete certain tasks depending on the extent of their injuries, assistance could be required to complete certain activities such as showering, dressing one’s self, and traveling from one place to another. Mr. Burkhart and his medical team have provided a glimmer of hope that a cure for paralysis may not be far off.
Contact Our Law Firm After a Spinal Cord Injury
If you or a loved one has suffered a spinal cord or neck injury caused by another person, you will undoubtedly face significant medical bills and an uncertain amount of costs in the future. The experienced Pennsylvania and New Jersey spinal cord injury lawyers at Cohen, Placitella & Roth, P.C. are here to assist you in obtaining the maximum amount of compensation for your injuries as possible so that you can receive the compensation you need. Contact our firm to discuss your case today by calling (866) 236-4230 or by contacting us online.