March 24, 2016 – Arm Movement


Anchor lead: Brain electrodes can help move a prosthetic arm, Elizabeth Tracey reports

Electrodes implanted into the brain have helped Nathan Crone and colleagues at Johns Hopkins identify precise areas where movement begins, even down to the individual fingers on the hand, then use them to enable a person to control a prosthetic limb.

Crone: We could map out areas in the brain that were controlling movement and also sensation in the fingers, then we were able to use that information to see if that activity could control the fingers of the modular prosthetic limb. We did try to have the patient imagine finger movements and I don’t think we got as good a control from that.  We had another patient where we weren’t focused on control of the fingers but just on reaching out and grasping, and that patient was able to get the limb to reach out and grasp without using his arm.   :33

Crone notes that right now, about 100,000 people missing hands or arms in the US could benefit from such an intervention.  At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.