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Intraneural electrodes allow for control of hand prosthesis

Sensory feedback was improved in amputees when intraneural electrodes were implanted into the median and ulnar nerves, allowing for control of hand prosthesis, according to results presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Boston.

SilvestroMicera, PhD, of the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL) in Switzerland, and colleagues discovered during a 4-week clinical trial that electrodes implanted into the nerves of an amputee could stimulate the sensory peripheral system and deliver different types of feelings of touch, according to a press release. After analyzing the motor neural signals recorded from the nerves, the researchers found that information related to grasping could be extracted and used to control a hand prosthesis placed near, but not physically attached to, the amputee.

“We could be on the cusp of providing new and more effective clinical solutions to amputees in the next years,” Micera, who is head of the Translational Neural Engineering Laboratory at EPFL and professor at the Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna in Italy, stated.

Micera and colleagues will be continuing their research by performing a new clinical trial as part of the Italian Ministry of Health’s NEMESIS project. This new trial will include connecting the prosthetic hand directly to the patient for real-time, bidirectional control using peripheral neural signals. The researchers hope to further sensory feedback and overall control of the prostheses with this new method.

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