Overcoming paralysis: From Monkey to Man at the University of Pittsburgh

On Friday the New York Times reported that scientists at the University of Pittsburgh are ready to start clinical trials of two different brain implant systems, known as brain machine interfaces,  that aim to give quadriplegic patients control over a prosthetic limb. In the main project a team led by Professor Andrew Schwartz and Professor … Continue reading Overcoming paralysis: From Monkey to Man at the University of Pittsburgh

Albert Sabin and the monkeys who gave summer back to the children.

Albert Sabin has been called “the doctor who gave summer back to the children.”* Because of his decades of research to develop the oral polio vaccine, children today know nothing of the fear that polio brought to the United States every summer well into the 20th century.  Swimming pools and movie theaters were closed and … Continue reading Albert Sabin and the monkeys who gave summer back to the children.

Working toward a cure for paralysis

We have been pleasantly surprised by the magnitude of the positive responses received from our recent publication in Nature Neuroscience regarding the demonstration of several interventions which resulted in the recovery of well controlled locomotion after a complete spinal cord injury. It has been characterized as a major breakthrough in facilitating the level of recovery … Continue reading Working toward a cure for paralysis

The Limits of Computer Simulations

Following on from the last post about the limits of fMRI technology, we will now look further at the limits of another so called "alternative" - computer simulations. Animal rights groups also argue (Warning: AR website) that advanced computer simulations can replace the use of animals in our research.  This position, again, reflects the poor … Continue reading The Limits of Computer Simulations

Returning control to paralyzed limbs one nerve at a time.

A few months ago we reported on a fascinating study undertaken by Andy Schwartz and colleagues at the University of Pittsburgh, who developed a brain-machine interface that when implanted into the motor cortex, the part of the brain responsible for controlling voluntary muscle movements,  of monkeys allowed then to control a robot arm with surprising … Continue reading Returning control to paralyzed limbs one nerve at a time.

Monkeys, Robots and the University of Pittsburgh – New hope for paralysis victims?

The day after Tom Holder spoke at the University of Pittsburgh about the importance of animal research, more news is coming from this academic institution. Every 45 seconds someone in the US gets a stroke, many are left paralyzed, furthermore 14,000 people every year suffer spinal cord injuries which may also result in paralysis. There … Continue reading Monkeys, Robots and the University of Pittsburgh – New hope for paralysis victims?