Experimental Brain Prosthesis for Stroke
Electrical control of motor behavior by programmed electrical stimulation of the brain has been described. Such programmed brain stimulation is referred to as a "brain prosthesis," meaning, in effect, "artificial brain."
Areas in the brain which related to the production of elementary movements were located. From these preliminary experiments it was evident that programmed stimulation of the brain at sites typically unaffected by stroke could produce a "purposive" sequence of motor behaviors.
Monkeys were made monoplegic by surgical (two-stage) resection of appropriate cortical and subcortical regions. After recovery electrodes were implanted in the brain. This technique is described.
The electrodes are linked to a multiple-electrode programmable brain stimulator. The stimulator and computer programming make it possible to specify which electro-stimulators are to be turned on, and strength and duration of current to produce a pattern of complex motor function.
Programs of stimulation, which cause the paralyzed limb to reach out, grasp an object (such as food), and bring the object rapidly and smoothly to the mouth, have been written. The ultimate question of applicability of this model in humans remains to be studied.
- © 1972 American Heart Association, Inc.