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People who were paralyzed see results with new technology

Advances in science have made it possible for remarkable gains in the world of medicine that New Jersey residents might wish to know about. Robotic exoskeletons and virtual reality systems allowed people with spinal cord injuries who were paralyzed to move again.

The Walk Again Project released a small study on Aug 11 that found that people with spinal cord injuries could use brain activity to stimulate control of their legs. The technology used was intended to help people move, but it appears that the brain-machine interface assists with neurological recovery.

Brain-machine interfaces use brain activity to make things happen in virtual reality or with a robotic exoskeleton, and the interface sends signals back that correspond to the activity or behavior. For example, a person could control a device or avatar to make it walk and would then receive the sensation of walking. Eight people who were completely paralyzed because of spinal cord injuries for at least three years were asked to train on the brain-machine interfaces for at least two hours a week for a year.

Researchers evaluated the patients on the study's first day and at different points as the study progressed. After months passed, the patients could move and feel sensations when not using the interface. Four of the patients now have partial paralysis instead of complete paralysis, and all the patients made improvements that allowed them to move at least a bit.

Around 282,000 people with spinal cord injuries live in the U.S., and motor vehicle accidents are one of the main causes. When such an injury is caused by the negligence of another motorist, an attorney could be of assistance in filing a lawsuit seeking compensation from the at-fault driver.

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