Artificial Spinal Cord

Circumstances arising from trauma, such as motor vehicle accidents, falls, etc., can result in neurological damage involving the spinal cord such that the individual becomes paralyzed or loses feeling in one or many parts of the body. In addition, there are a variety of diseases that involve the spinal cord and can cause progressive loss of muscular control, severely reducing the normal function and quality of life of the individual. Likewise, there are a variety of conditions that can cause an individual to feel pain, whether chronically or episodically, in various parts of the body. These and other causes and conditions present significant challenges to individuals and their families who strive to help the afflicted person cope with such disabilities. We are conducting experiments to create an artificial spinal cord that can bypass the nonfunctional neural circuit.

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Our goal is to develop a device that can be able to generate movement of muscle and sensing that movement in a person having neurological damage, by applying electric current to nerves, bypassing an area of neurological damage, moving the muscle in a natural manner, and sending information of the movement to the spinal cord, thereby allowing the person to sense the movement. The artificial spinal cord includes a motor device for bypassing an area of neurological damage in communication with the sensory device having the biofeedback mechanism to send information generated by the motor device to the spinal cord, and the motor device being in communication with the information harvesting device having the mechanism to harvest information directly from the brain and motor cortex and send to the motor device.

Learn more in our Frontiers in Surgery case report article:
A Novel Electromagnetic-Neurobiologic Interface for Functional Animation of Dormant Motor Nerve Roots in Spinal Cord Injury via Neuromodulation