Researchers Hope Monkey Study Will Help Paralyzed - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

5/29/08

Researchers Hope Monkey Study Will Help Paralyzed

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Fascinating research done on monkeys could one day help humans do things they are unable to do with their bodies, just by using their minds. Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh say that the monkeys, using only their thoughts to control a robot arm, have learned how to feed themselves.

Researchers attached electrodes to about a hundred individual nerve cells in the monkey's brain.  When those neurons fired correctly, the monkeys got their food. The research is aimed at helping more than a million severely paralyzed Americans.

Dr. Schwartz, Ph.D., of the University of Pittsburgh, says, "To be able to have fingers move to be able to button buttons and zipper zippers and then also to impart sensory input to have tactile sensation that will actually transmit back to the brain so that you'll have a feeling of what's going on in the prosthetic hand."

Dr. Schwartz hopes to begin human experiments within the next two years.

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