We mightn’t like it, but there are ethical reasons to use animals in medical research

Trichur Vidyasagar, University of Melbourne The media regularly report impressive medical advances. However, in most cases, there is a reluctance by scientists, the universities, or research institutions they work for, and the media to mention animals used in that research, let alone non-human primates. Such omission misleads the public and works against long-term sustainability of … Continue reading We mightn’t like it, but there are ethical reasons to use animals in medical research

Paralyzed man walks again after olfactory cell transplant, thanks to animal research

Today, almost 30 years after Prof. Geoffrey Raisman first identified their potential to repair nerve damage in mice, the BBC reports that olfactory ensheathing cell transplantation has been successfully used to enable Darek Fidyka, who was paralyzed from the chest down in a knife attack in 2010, to walk again. The paper reporting the transplant, … Continue reading Paralyzed man walks again after olfactory cell transplant, thanks to animal research

Kicking off a new era for neuroprosthetics, or just the warm-up?

Tonight, if everything goes according to plan, a young person will stand up in front of a global audience numbering in the hundreds of millions, walk a few paces, and kick a football.  This by itself may not seem remarkable, after all this is the opening ceremony of the World Cup, but for the Miguel … Continue reading Kicking off a new era for neuroprosthetics, or just the warm-up?

Spinal cord stimulation restores monkey’s ability to move paralysed hand

Today scientists at the Newcastle University Movement Laboratory announced that they have succeeded in restoring the ability to grasp and pull a lever with a paralysed hand using spinal cord stimulation. In a study undertaken in macaque monkeys they demonstrated for the first time that it is possible to restore voluntary movement in upper limb … Continue reading Spinal cord stimulation restores monkey’s ability to move paralysed hand

Paralysis breakthrough – electrical stimulation enables four paraplegic men to voluntarily move their legs

This weeks issue of the neuroscience journal Brain carries an unusual image; against a background of nerve activity traces a man lies on the ground, and as you scan down the images he lifts his right leg off the ground. For most people this might just be a simple warm-up exercise, but for Kent Stephenson it … Continue reading Paralysis breakthrough – electrical stimulation enables four paraplegic men to voluntarily move their legs

Brain-machine interface success allows paralysed woman to feed herself for first time in a decade.

Today the Guardian newspaper has a fascinating report on how a woman named Jan Scheuermann, quadraplegic for over a decade due to a spinal  degenerative disease, was able to feed herself with the help of two intracortical microelectrode arrays that monitored her motor neuron activity and allowed her to manipulate a robotic arm and hand with unprecedented fluency and accuracy. … Continue reading Brain-machine interface success allows paralysed woman to feed herself for first time in a decade.

Moving from rats to patients: swift progress for electrical simulation in treating paralysis

Sometimes the pace of medical progress takes even us by surprise. Last month a paper was published in the Lancet by a team of clinicians and scientists at the University of Louisville that we certainly were not expecting to see so soon, reporting that electrical stimulation of the lower spinal cord had restored voluntary movement … Continue reading Moving from rats to patients: swift progress for electrical simulation in treating paralysis