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chrisdh79 OP t1_jdc6hn3 wrote

From the article: Researchers from the University of Cambridge have created a new type of neural implant that could restore limb function in paralyzed limbs.

The developed device works in sync between the brain and paralyzed limbs - it combines flexible electronics and human stem cells to "better integrate" with the nerve and drive limb function, according to a press release.

There have been former attempts at using neural implants to restore limb function, but these mostly failed. This is because scar tissue can envelop the electrodes over time, disrupting the connection between the device and the nerve.

"If someone has an arm or a leg amputated, for example, all the signals in the nervous system are still there, even though the physical limb is gone,” said Dr. Damiano Barone from Cambridge’s Department of Clinical Neurosciences, who co-led the research, said in a statement. "The challenge with integrating artificial limbs, or restoring function to arms or legs, is extracting the information from the nerve and getting it to the limb so that function is restored."

The researchers combined cell therapy and bioelectronics into a single device, improving functionality and sensitivity.

In this case, they sandwiched a layer of muscle cells that were reprogrammed from stem cells between the electrodes and the living tissue. This led to device integration with the host's body, preventing the formation of scar tissue. For the time time, the cells survived on the electrode for 28 days - the duration of the experiment.

First, the researchers designed a biocompatible flexible electronic device thin enough to be attached to the end of a nerve. According to the release, a layer of stem cells, reprogrammed into muscle cells, was then placed on the electrode.


TheNotSoGrim t1_jdcwnx7 wrote

Pretty insane stuff, let's hope it turns out to be feasible.


LazyLich t1_jdcsxup wrote

Looks like we won't need to invent Neuropozyne after all!


hippymule t1_jdf2i63 wrote

That is so fucking rad. I really wish I had gone into the medical field sometimes, just so I could help real people with awesome advancements like this. Instead I program the back end system of a company lol. Perhaps I could transition into programming for medical devices?


qj-_-tp t1_jdfn85x wrote

If you figure out how, let me know.


Black_RL t1_jdm36jx wrote

This is fantastic work!

Congrats to all involved!