Research press release





Grégoire Courtineらは、歩行に関係する脊髄領域と脳を直接接続する脳–脊髄インターフェース(BSI)を検証した。このBSIは、埋め込み型の記録・刺激システムによって構成されており、数分以内に校正でき、自宅で指導を受けずに使用する場合であっても、その信頼性と安定性が1年以上保持された。患者の報告によると、BSIは患者の脚の動きを自然に制御し、患者は、立ったり、歩いたり、階段を上ったりでき、複雑な地形を通り抜けることもできた。さらに、このBSIを用いた神経リハビリテーションでは、患者の神経学的回復が向上し、患者はBSIのスイッチを切ったときでも、松葉づえをついて地面を歩く能力を取り戻した。


An implant that restores communication between the brain and spinal cord is shown to help a patient with paralysis of the arms and legs to stand and walk naturally. The device, described in Nature this week, was also found to improve neurological recovery, and the patient was able to walk with crutches even when the implant was switched off. The findings establish a framework to restore the natural control of movement after paralysis.

Spinal cord injury can interrupt the communication between the brain and the region of the spinal cord that controls walking, leading to paralysis. Some previous approaches to restore movement in people with this type of paralysis involved electrically stimulating regions of the spinal cord to enable standing and walking. However, this required wearing motion sensors, and patients showed limited ability to adapt leg movements to changing terrains and demands. Connecting the brain and spinal cord digitally could improve the control over the timing and amplitude of muscle activity and restore more natural and adaptive control of standing and walking in these patients.

Grégoire Courtine and colleagues tested a brain–spine interface (BSI), consisting of an implanted recording and stimulation system, that establishes a direct link between the brain and spinal cord regions involved in walking. The BSI was able to calibrate within a few minutes and has remained reliable and stable for over one year, including at home without supervision. The patient reports that the BSI enables a natural control over the movements of the patient’s legs to stand, walk, climb stairs and even traverse complex terrains. Moreover, neurorehabilitation supported by the BSI improved neurological recovery and the patient regained the ability to walk with crutches over ground even when the BSI was switched off.

The concept of a digital bridge between the brain and spinal cord may help to improve the treatment of movement deficits due to neurological disorders.

doi: 10.1038/s41586-023-06094-5

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