(PRWEB) February 18, 2014
Throughout the history of medicine, one thing about amputees was pretty much certain: once they lost a limb, they were never going to feel with that limb again. Prosthetic limbs were enough to help amputees live a normal day-to-day life, but they lacked the ability to give amputees back the sense of touch that so many of us take for granted.
A team of European researchers that has been working to change that announced a major breakthrough last week: a test subject who had lost his hand in an accident over nine years ago was able to feel sensation in a prosthetic hand for the first time.
The team, made up of researchers from Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne in Switerland and Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna in Italy, began testing the bionic hand prototype last year. Neurologists and surgeons began preparing the test subject, Dennis Aabo Sorensen of Denmark, for the test by inserting electrodes into the sense receptors of his upper arm. Although the sense receptors had not been used in the nine years since Sorensen lost his hand, the team was still able to activate his sense of touch in the hand.
“This new development is tremendously exciting to me, as someone who loves technology, and values it for its ability to improve our lives,” said entrepreneur Jason Hope. “What we’re seeing now with prosthetics technology is a lot like what was going on with transplants back in the 60’s: the technology may be sort of new and primitive, but the potential to change lives is self-evident. I think it won’t be long until these touch-sensitive bionic limbs are everywhere.”
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