Brain


People With Spinal Injuries Are Regaining Use of Their Limbs in an Amazing Way

Date: 
March 30, 2018
Inside UCLA’s Neuroplasticity and Repair Laboratory

Brian Gomez has his fingers wrapped around a small bar attached to three short springs in a rectangular metal frame. It’s similar to the handlebar brake lever of a dirt bike, like the one Gomez was riding in 2011 that malfunctioned, causing a crash that left him paralyzed below the neck. He’s trying to close his hand, but the bar doesn’t budge. Then a switch is flipped, and tiny electrodes implanted on his spinal cord begin firing. “It’s like a fluid shock going through” his body, he says. Gomez straightens in his wheelchair. His forearm twitches, and his grip tightens. The metal bar moves.