How could Brain Implants help with Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation?

Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation

Many of those affected by spinal cord injury have been advised that the ability to control their paralysed limbs may never return. However, a new breakthrough study has successfully shown the benefits of brain implants in doing just this, coming at a time where emerging technology continues to provide hope through a number of trials and tests.


Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation - The Processes and Aims

Many people become permanently affected by spinal cord injury after a car accident, sports injury or in some cases, a medical condition affecting their spine. 

After the accident, understandably, many of those affected find it hard to come to terms with the immediate and long-term effects on their lives moving forward. This can be a difficult transition period - and by ensuring these efforts are managed and maintained to yield the best possible outcome during the rehabilitation phase is our passion here at Aspire Law

The main efforts are divided into two periods, the acute recovery phase, from the time of injury up to stabilisation, and the second phase of rehabilitation and adaptation. These are carefully coordinated to ensure the best possible outcome for recovery, and, additionally, that the patient’s requests and feelings are nurtured to facilitate this. 

These phases are managed and conducted by a highly qualified, multidisciplinary team, including physical and occupational therapists, psychologists, rehabilitation nurses and speech pathologists. Through a bespoke program of all these elements, the recovery process aims to successfully improve locomotor functions, depending on initial prognosis. Every patient is encouraged and motivated to maximise this assistance, particularly during the early stages of rehab, in order to achieve maximum mobility - which can involve brain implants.


NHS: “Brain implants allow paralysed man to feed himself”

Tetraplegia is a condition whereby the brain cannot send signals to the rest of the body via the spinal cord - which is often the result of a traumatic injury. One man, a 53-year-old left paralysed after a cycling accident, has successfully completed a trial for a new technology aiming to replicate the function of the spinal cord. 

The doctors implanted an electric device into his brain, to the part which usually controls hand movement - which was then linked by computer to a series of implants in his arm. As this part of the brain is usually responsible for controlling hand movement - these implants aimed to allow the patient to feed himself. 

The results were astounding, as he was observed to regain control of his paralysed right arm by his brain alone. The trial recorded that the man successfully fed himself and was then able to grasp a cup of coffee - a huge step forward in the future of mobility for those affected by spinal cord injury. 

Although these findings for brain implants are extremely encouraging, it must be noted that results like these have only been recorded in one patient so far, with the hope that similar results will follow in further tests from the ongoing clinical trial in the US. This has been published by peer-reviewed scientific journal ‘The Lancet’, and the full report is available to read online, here.


The Effects of Technology on Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation 

The effects of technology like the above on spinal cord injury patients will play a pivotal role in the future of the recovery process. At present, both pressure mapping and locomotor training have transformed the rehabilitation process through a holistic approach to wellness and recovery. 

Other technologies like Epidural Spinal Stimulation, Functional electrical stimulation and Exoskeletons or ‘Ekso’, use stimulating effects to carefully ‘shock’ the muscles into action, through a series of pulsed electric signals in patterns that aim to contract muscles and control chronic pain. To read more about these methods of treatment, click here.


Aspire Law - Spinal Injury Solicitors is in partnership with Aspire Charity

As a unique venture between the Aspire Charity and Moore Barlow Solicitors, Aspire Law utilise a combination of skill, empathy and knowledge to ensure those affected by spinal cord injury are able to achieve a level of independence through a fair and justified financial settlement. 

We acknowledge that no compensation claim will be able to turn the clock back - but, we do believe that this can enable you and your family to manage the rehabilitation costs and ensure peace of mind when adjusting to your disability. 

We pride ourselves on our ability to protect your rights to appropriate benefits in addition to compensation entitlement. With specialist public law solicitors able to offer advice over any changes to your personal independence payments (PIP), along with the added benefits of the Charity Aspire, we are perfectly placed to offer support throughout. To get in contact, click here.


See also...

Can Research into Fish aid Spinal Cord Injury Treatment?

Nutlins: A New Hope for Spinal Cord Injury?

Can thought-control technology really be the key to overcoming paralysis?