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article imageOp-Ed: Computer chips could potentially cure physical paralysis

By Eliot Elwar     Jun 17, 2012 in Science
The scientific community has developed new ion-based electronic chip designed to control muscles. This new technology could potentially cure paralysis in the 21st century.
The human physique operates by employing electrical charges. Negative and positive ions pass electrical charges from the human brain to muscles, telling the muscles when to expand and contract. The biochemical signals that transport the charges through the human body can fail occasionally, and when this occurs, science researchers hope that a new transistor chip can pass on the signals for a variety of functions, potentially helping people who suffer from paralysis.
The Consortium on Cognitive Science Instruction (CCSI) reports: The central nervous system (CNS) is comprised completely of two types of specialized cells: neurons and glia. Therefore, each information processing system in the CNS is comprised of neurons and glia; so too are the networks which comprise the other biological systems. Without these two kinds of cells, the CNS would not function correctly, which contains every mental and physical action.
Extreme Tech and Science Daily reports: A bio-electronic engineer, Klas Tybrandt of Linkoping University in Sweden, has built the first “ion transistor” computer chip, which uses chemical ions and biological molecules as charge carriers instead of electrons. In essence, these ion transistors mean that we can now build computer chips that directly interface with the cells in your body. The benefit of chemical circuits is that the charge transporter includes chemical elements with numerous functions. The chemical chip can control the delivery of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. This enables chemical control of muscles, which are activated when they come into contact with acetylcholine. This means that scientists now have new opportunities to control and regulate the signal paths ways in human body cells.
Encyclopaedia Britannic and Science Daily reports: Neurotransmitters send the actual electrical signal from one neuron to the next. Between neurons are gap junctions referred to synapses. The electrical signal travels down the neuron until it reaches the end of the axon, causing the release of neurotransmission into the synapse, and it disseminates throughout the synapse to a receptor at the dendrite end of the next neuron.
The development of this new technology means that we could use computer chips to artificially control the paths of signals from brain to muscle cells. The research results were published in the most recent issue of the journal Nature Communications. This technology offers hope for curing people who have lost physical mobility because of nerve damage. In other words, this technology could give paralyzed people the ability to move again or improve movement precision in the human body.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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