Those unfortunate enough to have suffered a serious brain injury in a motor vehicle accident or as a result of the negligent conduct of another often face a long and uncertain road to recovery. That's because rehabilitation therapy -- which is both time-consuming and costly -- doesn't always produce the desired results, meaning a person may have to adjust to an entirely new and decidedly difficult lifestyle.
Fortunately, scientists around the globe and right here in the U.S. are currently hard at working trying to find what amounts to a cure for brain injury victims. In fact, researchers at the University of Kansas School of Medicine and Case Western Reserve University are currently working on developing a groundbreaking device that may help those with traumatic brain injuries recover their motor functions.
The device in question, which is powered by a watch battery, is actually a microdevice implanted into the brain that is specially designed to repair and restore neurological communication patterns otherwise disrupted by a brain injury.
How exactly is this accomplished?
The implanted microdevice essentially record signals from one section of the brain and converts them into electrical impulses that stimulate other areas of the brain.
Is this seems more like something out of a science fiction novel than reality, consider an experiment the researchers performed using a scaled down microdevice designed to fit in the brains of rats with damaged frontal cortexes.
Here, the rats were examined on their ability to secure a food pellet from a Plexiglas chamber, a difficult but not impossible task. Without any assistance, the rats struggled to reach the food pellets. However, when the device was activated, the rats were able to easily perform the task and, even more astonishingly, they were moving at pre-injury levels within two weeks of using the microdevice.
"You just implant it, and it basically fixes the brain pathways that are injured," said one of the study architects. "We think this is a game changer."
While the research is incredibly promising, the study authors point out that significantly more study is required before it can even be considered for human trials.
Here's hoping this microdevice becomes a reality sooner than later ...
Consider speaking with an experienced attorney if you or a loved one has suffered a serious brain injury due to the negligence of another here in Tennessee. Together, you can discuss your options, your rights and your ability to secure justice.
Source: The Kansas City Kansan, "KUMC study: Implant allows rats with brain damage to rapidly recover motor skills," Nick Sloan, Dec. 10, 2013