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Paraplegic patients move again after participating in study

Some Pennsylvania residents who sustain spinal cord injuries are left completely or partially paralyzed. Until recently, many researchers believed that this kind of paralyses was irreversible. A study found evidence that brain-machine interfaces can be used to train the brains of paraplegic people and allow these people to regain some of their muscle control.

A neuroscientist from Duke University conducted the study with eight paraplegic patients. All of the patients had been completely paralyzed for at least three years because of spinal cord injuries. For one year, the patients were hooked up to brain-machine interfaces that allowed them to control robotic exoskeletons or virtual reality systems with their brain activity. When the patients triggered movements in the virtual avatars or exoskeletons, the interface would send signals back to their brain that mimicked movement sensations.

The patients were clinically evaluated at the beginning of the study and again every two to four months. Researchers found that after some time working with the brain-machine interfaces, the patients were able to move and experience sensations without the device. Despite being told previously that they would never move again, four of the patients experienced such dramatic improvements that their diagnoses were reevaluated and changed to partial paralysis.

A patient who is completely paralyzed because of a spinal cord injury may be able to file a personal injury complaint against a negligent party that was responsible for their accident. An attorney may be able to help a paraplegic patient to determine whether there are parties that hold liability for the accident that they were involved in. When a person's injury causes them to become permanently disabled, the injured person may pursue compensation for their medical expenses and loss of future income.

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