Paralyzed Man Walks for First Time in 12 Years Thanks to Brain and Spine Implants

Gert-Jan Oskam became paralyzed 12 years ago in a cycling accident and has been able "to stand up and have a beer" with his friends for the first time since

<p>CHUV 2022/WEBER Gilles</p>

CHUV 2022/WEBER Gilles

Gert-Jan Oskam is walking for the first time since becoming paralyzed 12 years ago in a cycling accident, according to multiple reports.

Per The Guardian, the Dutchman, 40, who broke his neck while biking in China, had a device implanted by doctors that reads brain waves and transmits those messages to the spine in order to move the right muscles.

The new technology is the latest medical advancement by neuroscientists out of Switzerland for overcoming paralysis.

"A few months ago, I was able for the first time after 10 years, to stand up and have a beer with my friends. That was pretty cool. I want to use it in my daily life," said Osckam, who is from the Netherlands.

<p>CHUV 2022/WEBER Gilles</p>

CHUV 2022/WEBER Gilles

CNN reports that the experimental brain and spinal cord implant was developed by Dr. Grégoire Courtine and his colleagues in Lausanne at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology.

In addition to the implant, there is a "processing unit that a person wears externally, like a backpack," the outlet notes, which then sends signals back to the second implant to stimulate the muscles.

Related: Paralyzed Man Is Able to Feed Himself for the First Time in 30 Years Thanks to Robotic Arms

“What we’ve been able to do is re-establish communication between the brain and the region of the spinal cord that controls leg movement with a digital bridge,” Courtine told The Guardian, explaining the system could “capture the thoughts of Gert-Jan and translate those thoughts into stimulation of the spinal cord to re-establish voluntary leg movements."

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Related: Paralyzed Man Learns to Walk Again After Having Electrode Device Implanted on Spinal Cord

Describing the "digital bridge," the clinical research findings originally published by state:

"Spinal-cord injury interrupts communication between the brain and spinal cord, leading to paralysis," the study explains. "An implant that decodes the brain signals that control movements and drives electrical stimulation of the spinal cord re-establishes this communication, enabling an individual with spinal-cord injury to walk naturally."

<p>CHUV 2022/WEBER Gilles</p>

CHUV 2022/WEBER Gilles

And after 40 training sessions of Oskam using the implant, he has been able to regain some control over his legs, even when the device is off, leading Courtine to believe that by reconnecting the brain and spine, it is also helping to regenerate spinal nerves.

"Imagine when we apply the digital bridge a few weeks after spinal cord injury," Courtine said. "The potential for recovery is tremendous.

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