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It’s among modern medicine’s most alluring high-tech pursuits: How do you restore movement and communication to those who have suffered neurologic disease or injury?

The neuroscientist John Donoghue, of Brown University, led the team that first tested technology that could determine the intent of specific brain signals of paralyzed patients and help translate those signals into physical action. That team achieved a breakthrough when, in 2004, they implanted a device called BrainGate into the cortex of a man with a spinal cord injury, allowing the man to control a computer cursor with his thoughts.

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  • This is of interest to me because I am partially paralyzed as the result of a brain injury that occurred 14 years ago. At that time I had private insurance, and was reassured by specialists at the rehab. hospital in NJ where I was sent that the damaged neurons could repair themselves by finding new undamaged routes to take as they regrew. But that was a long time ago, and though I got some of my mobility back, there are still some major problems. I haven’t given up hope yet, but it gets trying sometimes as time seems to pass me by.

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