Brain-spine ‘digital bridge’ allows spinal cord injury patient to walk — and enjoy a beer

“This simple pleasure represents a significant change in my life,” Gert-Jan Oksam said of his regained ability to stand at a bar with friends thanks to an experimental “digital bridge” between his brain and spine. [Photo courtesy of NeuroRestore]

A wireless “digital bridge” between a paralyzed patient’s brain and spinal cord has allowed him to walk naturally, researchers say.

The experimental technology uses electronic implants on the brain and spinal cord to relay leg movement control signals, allowing 40-year-old Gert-Jan Oksam to walk again 12 years after a bicycle accident.

Neuroscientists and neurosurgeons from Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), Lausanne University Hospital (CHUV) and University of Lausanne (UNIL) published their research in Nature last week.

“We have implanted Wimagine devices above the region of the brain that is…

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