How paralysed patients could feed themselves by the power of thought

By Mark Henderson
Brain implants could allow quadriplegics enough control over their limbs to be able to feed themselves using their own hands, an expert in the technology has said

PATIENTS paralysed from the neck down will be able to feed themselves within the next five years using their own hands and arms, an expert has predicted.
John Donoghue, of Brown University in Rhode Island, is pioneering the technology necessary to make this possible.
NI_MPU('middle');Brain implants that have allowed quadriplegics to move computer cursors with the power of thought will soon be capable of stimulating patients’ own muscles, giving them enough control over their limbs to grasp and manipulate a spoon, he said.
The range of movement will be limited initially, but the technology has the potential to transform the lives of people with spinal cord injuries who are reliant on others to feed, wash and dress them. “They are not going to be writing or piano-playing, but it is a first step to proving a physical connection can be remade from the brain to the muscles,” Professor Donoghue told The Times.
“I’m quite optimistic it will be done within five years.” The ambitious goal of bypassing spinal damage that causes paralysis has emerged from his team’s astounding success with a device called BrainGate, an aspirin-sized implant that records electrical signals from the part of the brain that processes movement in the limbs.



http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article...405400,00.html