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This podcast's purpose is to bring together the field of neuroprosthetics / brain machine interfaces / brain implants in an understandable conversation about the current topics and breakthroughs. We hope to replace needing to read scientific papers on new research in an easy to digest way. Then people can share thoughts or ideas to facilitate 'idea sex' to make the field of brain implants a smaller and more personal space

Mar 9, 2020

Dr. Pablo Celnik is a professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Buzz is a spinal cord injury patient who has recently received implants to help him regain sensory and motor control of his body. In this episode, they discuss the project directed by Dr. Celnik that involves the implantation of a bilateral set of implants that has been effective in helping Buzz regain sensory and motor control.

Top three takeaways:

  1. Buzz’s implants are unique due to the number of implants, and due to the fact that they are bilaterally implanted.
  2. The future of this project depends on factors such as funding and reapproval, and will likely involve observing how the addition of sensory information will help improve motor performance.
  3. It is important for spinal cord injury patients to understand that despite their injury, they can live a productive and happy life.

[0:00] Ladan introduces the episode and the guests, Dr. Pablo Celnik and Buzz, a spinal cord injury patient, at SfN 2019; Buzz gives a background of his injury and condition

[3:30] Dr. Celnik gives a background of his research, his department, and the project he is currently working on in neurorehabilitation

[6:30] Buzz is special in that his implants are bilateral and more numerous; he has arrays in the dominant and non-dominant side, in both motor and somatosensory cortices

[8:45] Buzz discusses his experience with learning to control his body using his implants

[12:45] Dr. Celnik discusses his experience training Buzz with the new implants; they have started with one arm and have progressed to doing more complicated movements with both arms

[16:15] Like any other research project, this project depends on every component’s support, including funding and yearly reapproval. The future for this project includes evaluating how the addition of sensory information helps with motor performance.

[18:50] Buzz has also been involved in patient advocacy, where he has mentored and guided other spinal cord injury patients in a peer mentoring program

[22:00] Dr. Celnik mentions the significance of this type of work to help spinal cord injury patients restore their quality of life

[25:00] Patients like Buzz illustrate how the field of neuroscience can be translated to a practical, significant application