Scientists at the Washington National Primate Research Centre have found a way to restore movement to paralysed monkeys through the use of brain implants. Equipped with roving electrodes, these implants seek out and restore neural connections between in the brain and the rest of the body necessary for movement. According to the New Scientist, the monkey was able to move its wrist on a paralysed arm.
According to researchers, when someone becomes paralysed, the neurons that control movement remain active, only missing the actual bridge between the brain and the body. These neurons remain alive and emit signals for years after paralysis.
The electrodes are able to detect where the strongest movement signal is coming from, and attach itself to that area of the brain. So far connections only last for about four weeks or so, but researchers hope to improve on this implement the breakthrough on humans. [New Scientist]