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Paralysed man walks again via thought-controlled implants

A paralysed man has regained the ability to walk smoothly using only his thoughts for the first time, researchers said on Wednesday, thanks to two implants that restored communication between brain and spinal cord.

The patient Gert-Jan, who did not want to reveal his surname, said the breakthrough had given him "a freedom that I did not have" before.

The 40-year-old Dutchman has been paralysed in his legs for more than a decade after suffering a spinal cord injury during a bicycle accident.

But using a new system he can now walk "naturally", take on difficult terrain and even climb stairs, according to a study published in the journal Nature.

The advance is the result of more than a decade of work by a team of researchers in France and Switzerland.

Last year the team showed that a spinal cord implant -- which sends electrical pulses to stimulate movement in leg muscles -- had allowed three paralysed patients to walk again.

But they needed to press a button to move their legs each time.

Gert-Jan, who also has the spinal implant, said this made it difficult to get into the rhythm of taking a "natural step".

The latest research combines the spinal implant with new technology called a brain-computer interface, which is implanted above the part of the brain that controls leg movement.

The interface uses algorithms based on artificial intelligence methods to decode brain recordings in real time, the researchers said.

This allows the interface, which was designed by researchers at France's Atomic Energy Commission (CEA), to work out how the patient wants to move their legs at any moment.

The data is transmitted to the spinal cord implant via a portable device that fits in a walker or small backpack, allowing patients to get around without help from others.

The two implants build what the researchers call a "digital bridge" to cross the disconnect between the spinal cord and brain that was created during Gert-Jan's accident.

"Now I can just do what I want -- when I decide to make a step the stimulation will kick in as soon as I think about it," Gert-Jan said.

After undergoing invasive surgery twice to implant both devices, it has "been a long journey to get here," he told a press conference in the Swiss city of Lausanne.

But among other changes, he is now able to stand at a bar again with friends while having a beer.

"This simple pleasure represents a significant change in my life," he said in a statement.

Gregoire Courtine, a neuroscientist at Switzerland's Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne and a study co-author, said it was "radically different" from what had been accomplished before.

"Previous patients walked with a lot of effort -- now one just needs to think about walking to take a step," he told a press conference in the Swiss city of Lausanne.

There was another positive sign: following six months of training, Gert-Jan recovered some sensory perception and motor skills that he had lost in the accident.

He was even able to walk with crutches when the "digital bridge" was turned off.

Guillaume Charvet, a researcher at France's CEA, told AFP this suggests "that the establishment of a link between the brain and spinal cord would promote a reorganisation of the neuronal networks" at the site of the injury.

So when could this technology be available to paralysed people around the world? Charvet cautioned it will take "many more years of research" to get to that point.

But the team are already preparing a trial to study whether this technology can restore function in arms and hands.

They also hope it could apply to other problems such as paralysis caused by stroke.

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by Anonymousreply 18May 25, 2023 2:41 AM

Handsome guy.

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by Anonymousreply 1May 24, 2023 7:14 PM

Wow, that's amazing!

by Anonymousreply 2May 24, 2023 7:16 PM

Happy for him and his seemingly substantial schlong.

by Anonymousreply 3May 24, 2023 7:20 PM

Wow, he's a cutiepie. Good for him.

by Anonymousreply 4May 24, 2023 7:22 PM

This is... BIG.

I mean, really big. HUGE.

Giving paralyzed people the ability to walk again?


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by Anonymousreply 5May 24, 2023 7:23 PM

[quote]This is... BIG.

[quote]I mean, really big. HUGE.

I'm sure he's heard that in the sack many, many times.

by Anonymousreply 6May 24, 2023 7:44 PM

He must be thrilled that he can go commando now.

by Anonymousreply 7May 24, 2023 7:50 PM

If I were a billionaire, I would be investing in things like this and developing realistic looking and functioning artificial limbs.

If I were a cynical billionaire, I would be investing in this technology because the same type of brain controlled tech will become wildly profitable in the future and patents on it will make me a trillionaire.

by Anonymousreply 8May 24, 2023 8:25 PM

He's a tall drink of water with definite BDF.

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by Anonymousreply 9May 24, 2023 10:01 PM

This is really freaking amazing! I hope many peoples lives are changed forever.

by Anonymousreply 10May 24, 2023 10:05 PM

Watch it get hacked and he starts taking out her cock and masturbating in public.

by Anonymousreply 11May 24, 2023 10:32 PM

*his cock

by Anonymousreply 12May 24, 2023 10:32 PM

Will this allow Madison Cawthorn to fuck again?

by Anonymousreply 13May 24, 2023 10:48 PM


by Anonymousreply 14May 24, 2023 11:13 PM

Somebody up there has been guiding this work. Somebody up there is smiling.

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by Anonymousreply 15May 24, 2023 11:17 PM

He's hot, R9.

Does his dick still work?

by Anonymousreply 16May 25, 2023 1:27 AM

This is so fucking amazing, I can't even tell you.

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by Anonymousreply 17May 25, 2023 1:43 AM

This technology will evolve very quickly. Just wait 10 years and you will see formally paralyzed people running marathons as if they were never injured. The only down side is that insurance companies will make this inaccessible unless you're filthy rich.

by Anonymousreply 18May 25, 2023 2:41 AM
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