Master Monkey's Brain Controls Sedated 'Avatar'
In this BBC News Article, science reporter James Gallagher talks about how how scientists used brain scans of the master monkey to electrically stimulate the spinal cord of the avatar which resulted in specified controlled movement. This finding is important because the group of scientists hope to refine this method in order to let paralyzed people recover the control of their own body. These finding were published in the Nature Communications and it talks about how the damage to spinal cord prevents the flow of information from the body to the brain and vice versa.
How the process worked was the master monkey had a brain chip implanted in its brain to monitor activity so that it's physical activities can be recorded and matched up with the electrical activity of the neurons. The avatar was also hooked up to electrodes in its spinal cord. The monkeys were then hooked up to brain scan so that one controlled the movement while the other performed it; as in the avatar monkey had a joystick and the master monkey would have to think about moving it. Results show that over 90% of the time the master monkey was able to control the joystick and move it around. This is useful because the goal of the study was to eventually take the damaged (paralyzed) brain stem and go around the injury. The only worry of the situation that the scientists declared as a no brainier was the worry about someone else controlling your body. Prof. Christopher James said that, "an able bodied person still has the control over their limbs, so no-one is going to control anyone else's body anytime soon." This is a goal that is long way off because there are a lot of factors that needs to be considered such as the difference in muscles of the paralyzed individuals because it becomes rigid, also fluctuating blood pressure is also another issue to consider while restoring control. These challenges need to be dealt with in order for this technology to be released to the people who need it.
Posted by: Jefiya Varghese (3)