Thomas Jessell of Columbia University presented a lecture on November 16th about current therapy research for motor disease as part of Columbia’s Brain Mind Behavior Initiative.
The idea that someone who has become paralyzed from the waist down could regain the ability to walk fascinated me from the moment I learned it was possible.
Hybrid brain-machine interface (HBMI), also known as recurrent brain-computer interface, could make this a reality. Say you have a serious spinal cord injury. Reclaiming use of your legs is theoretically possible because the neurons that control motor function are still intact, as are the muscles themselves (although they atrophy over time).
Ultimately, HBMI researchers would like to create an implantable chip that could assume the role of the spinal cord and relay sensory and motor information between the brain and the affected limbs. Excited to learn more, I attended a lecture presented by Dana Alliance member Thomas Jessell of Columbia and hosted by the University’s Mind Brain Behavior Initiative, sponsored by The Dana Foundation.