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Monkey think, monkey do: Experiment could lead to paralysis cure

Published on Feb 19, 2014 12:10 AM

PARIS (AFP) - Scientists working on a paralysis cure said on Tuesday they had demonstrated how a monkey can use only its thoughts, transferred by electrodes, to manipulate a sleeping fellow primate's arm to do its bidding.

The lab experiment, in which a fully sedated Rhesus monkey's hand moved a joystick to perform tasks at the other monkey's command, was designed to simulate full paralysis - the brain completely disconnected from the muscle it seeks to control.

"We demonstrate that a subject can control a paralysed limb purely with its thoughts," co-author Maryam Shanechi of Cornell University's School of Electrical and Computer Engineering said of the study in the journal Nature Communications.

The discovery "could have the potential to help paralysed patients regain control of their own limbs".

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