For most people, proper communication between the brain and other muscles in the body makes moving easy. However, if that connection is severed, it can be difficult if not impossible to use some or all parts of the body. New developments in brain-controlled devices may enable a patient with such an injury to regain some or all motor function.
Although such devices are available today, they are not always effective due to the lack of information they have to work with. Current devices may only have access to a few hundred dynamically firing neurons when the brain itself has millions. A breakthrough by researchers at Stanford may allow devices utilizing brain-control to make corrections as fast as a literal blink of the eye. If the technology works, it could allow people with ALS to operate computers or electric wheelchairs.
The breakthrough occurred after watching how monkeys moved their arms. A variety of experiments were performed, and an algorithm was created based on what was referred to as brain dynamics. Data from existing brain-control devices were then tweaked by the algorithm to make the devices more accurate. In an experiment, the new algorithm was able to perform with 90 percent efficiency compared to initial experiments done on the monkey subjects.
Individuals who have suffered spinal cord injuries may be entitled to compensation to pay for their medical bills and other costs. Long-term care costs may also be provided through a settlement or awarded by a jury if the injury is a permanent one. An attorney may be able to review the case to determine if an individual may be entitled to one or more forms of compensation. Legal counsel may also ensure that a case is filed before the expiration of any applicable statute of limitations.