Training the brain to control a single neuron 's activation could restore motion in paralyzed limbs, according to a study to be published tomorrow in linkurl:__Nature.__;http://www.nature.com/news/2008/081015/full/news.2008.1170.html The study represents a novel approach for developing neuroprosthetics. "This paper demonstrates that simple methods can be very useful," said Leigh Hochberg, a clinician and researcher at Brown University and other institutions, who was not involved with the study. Previous attempts at designing neuroprosthetics have focused on decoding the activity of a group of neurons associated with movement. Chet Moritz and colleagues from the University of Washington, however, went for individual cells --- by teaching monkeys to control the firing of a single neuron in their motor cortex, using biofeedback in order to power electrodes implanted in a paralyzed hand. The work fuses two different approaches in neuroprosthetic design -- direct muscle stimulation and brain-machine interfaces. Robert Kirsch and Hunter Peckham and others at...
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