On October 26, researchers at San Diego State University announced that they – along with teams at the University of Washington and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology – had received a $15 million grant to continue work on a brain chip that could help people paralyzed by the effects of traumatic spinal cord injury (SCI) regain mobility.
According to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center (NSCISC), there are approximately 276,000 people who have SCI in the U.S., and close to 12,500 new cases are reported each year. Many of these SCI survivors are unable to work, and some face difficulty performing even the simplest of tasks, due to their disabilities.
If the brain is the command center, then the spinal cord is the primary information relay system. When the spinal cord is damaged, the electrical signals from the brain can’t get through to the rest of the body. The signals are still working, but they’re being blocked – and the recipient body parts are rendered paralyzed as a result.
The brain chip works by converting neural signals into a wireless transmission and then sending the information around the injured nerves to a receiver in the functionally paralyzed limb that picks it up, converts it back into the original electrical signal, and stimulates the nerves, restoring function.
The development process may take years before the chip becomes widely available to patients, but once it does, SCI survivors with paralysis will have access to an unprecedented, potentially life-changing treatment option.
At Wilshire Law Firm, our experienced California spinal cord injury attorneys stay on top of the latest news and stories on medical technology. If you or someone you love has sustained SCI due to the negligence of another party, please let us help you get the financial support you need to gain access to the best medical treatments available. You can discuss your specific case with one of our dedicated legal team members by calling (800) 522-7274. We offer initial consultations at NO CHARGE.