COLUMBUS, Ohio (WTVN) --A medical breakthrough from doctors at Ohio State University's Wexner Medical Center and the engineers at Battelle Institute.
They have teamed up to allow a paralyzed man from Dublin to move his hand and fingers for the first time in years--using his thoughts.
While other paralyzed patients have been helped by robotics and braces, this is the first time the mind has successfully been used to generate movement in a paralyzed part of the body.
Ian Burhart, 23, of Dublin, was paralyzed in 2010 while diving into a wave in the ocean. He talks about doing the simple things the rest of us take for granted.
“Picking up a cup of water and drinking it, or brushing your teeth or feeding yourself, you know, those things, if you can do those on your own, makes a big difference in your life.”
Dr. Ali Rezai, Ian's neurologist at OSU's Wexner Medical Center, implanted a tiny chip in Ian's brain that communicates with a high-tech sleeve developed by scientists at Battelle.
Known as neurobridge technology, the system reads Ian’s thoughts, processes them, and in less than a tenth of a second, sends signals to his hand to move.
"It’s much like a heart bypass, but instead of bypassing blood, we’re actually bypassing electrical signals. We’re taking those signals from the brain, going around the injury, and actually going directly to the muscles," says Dr. Chad Bouton with Battelle.
Ian's father calls the scientists at Battelle and doctors at Ohio State the "real heroes". Doug Burkhart says, "You know, they’ve dedicated their lives to this.”
Read more about the technology here.
(Photo courtesy OSU Wexner Medical Center)