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Research on monkeys could allow paralysed hands to move again

Research at Newcastle University on macaque monkeys could eventually allow patients paralysed from the waist up to grasp objects with their hands. It involved redirecting electronic signals from the brain to the spinal cord through a computer.

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Monkey paralysis research: How it works

Researchers at Newcastle University, working with macaque monkeys, have shown that by connecting the brain to a computer and then the computer to the spinal cord, it is possible to restore movement.

They say the discovery opens up the possibility of new treatments within the next few years which could help stroke victims or people with spinal cord injuries regain some movement in their arms and hands.

The team trained macaque monkeys to pull a handle. The monkeys were temporarily paralysed, using a drug that wore off after two hours. The monkeys had no movement in their hands. But when the stimulation circuit was switched on the monkey could pull the handle.

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