Spinal cord injuries often interrupt the brain command circuitry to the motor neurons in the cord lumbosacral region responsible for walking, inducing paralysis. Professor Courtine’s team has managed to restore this communication with a wireless digital bridge between the brain and the spinal cord in a patient with tetraplegia.
Professor Courtine’s lab at EPFL is a global pioneer in the field of spinal cord function restoration. Prof Courtine has worked for years to develop new solutions to restore motor function in patients presenting with spinal cord lesions with several first-class publications; he has received grants from PHRT and collaborates closely with the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Vaudois (CHUV).
The brain-spine interface developed with this work consists of fully implanted recording and stimu-lation systems, establishing a direct link between brain signals and the modulation of electric signals in the cord region involved in the production of walking.
This work is a key element towards the development of systems which can help paralyzed patients to walk again and in an autonomous fashion. The research carries a lot of hopes for these patients in the future.