Thursday, February 1, 2007

Graeme Clark Developing Spinal Implant

Cochlear implant pioneer Graeme Clark's latest project is a spinal implant to solve spinal cord injuries.

Using "smart plastics", the team is developing an implant that would be surgically inserted into the damaged area of a patient's spinal cord. "Smart plastics" conduct electricity and are combined with carbon nanotubes - thousands of microscopic fibres that touch nerve endings. The implant receives radio waves through the skin from a transmitter pack worn outside the body on the patient's back. The electrical stimulus received by the implant allows it to release nerve growth hormones that encourage damaged spinal nerves to regrow and eventually reconnect with other nerves.

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