Reuters reports that a University of Illinois researcher has helped create a new brain implant made of silk and tiny electrodes and helped conduct studies assessing its effectiveness. Because the silk is biodegradable and water-soluble, it dissolves on the brain, leaving the electrodes in place and allowing the device to record brain signals more accurately than other brain implants and minimize damage to the brain. The silk brain implant also could have application to people suffering from serious brain traumaor a neurological disorder such as epilepsy or a spinal cord injury.
The Chicago brain injury lawyersat Levin & Perconti think these new findings are of particular interest to clients who have suffered spinal cord injuries as a result of the negligence of others. These injuries can occur from motor vehicle accidents, slip and fall incidents, and workplace accidents, or because of mistakes by health care providers, such as by failure to relieve spinal cord compression. As The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke explains, spinal cord injuries often begin with sudden, serious blows to the spine that fracture or dislocate vertebrae. This can compress the spine. Spinal cord injuries destroy the nerve cell extensions that carry signals between the brain and body, and when a person suffers a severe spinal cord injury, they can become completely paralyzed. However, people that suffer from less severe spinal cord injuries still retain some ability to convey messages from their brain to their body.
The silk brain implant can help both categories of people affected by a spinal cord injury. As Reuters reports, the silk brain implant has the potential to reroute signals from the brain to prosthetic devices, enabling people with spinal cord injuries to move independently once again.