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New Biohybrid Implant Could Restore Function in Paralyzed Limbs

Mar. 24, 2023.
1 min. read 1 Interactions

Cambridge develops biohybrid neural implant to restore limb function, combining flexible electronics and stem cells.

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Lewis Farrell

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Highly curious about things that increase my awareness, expand my perception, and make me open to being a better person.

The University of Cambridge has developed a new biohybrid neural implant that may be able to restore limb function in paralyzed limbs. To “better integrate” with the nerve and drive limb function, the implant combines flexible electronics and human stem cells.

Scar tissue enveloping the electrodes over time has been a significant challenge in previous attempts to restore limb function using neural implants. A layer of muscle cells reprogrammed from stem cells was sandwiched between the electrodes and the living tissue in this case. The implant was then implanted into the paralyzed arm of rats, with promising results. Although the rats did not move their forearms, the device detected brain signals that controlled movement.

This breakthrough is significant because it is easier to integrate, ensures long-term stability, and is small enough to require only keyhole surgery. The implant has the potential to change the way we interact with technology, opening up new avenues for prosthetics, brain-machine interfaces, and even cognitive enhancement.

Source: Science Advances (link)
Images: MidJourney, Prompts by Lewis Farrell

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