Scientists at the University of Kansas School of Medicine and Case Western Reserve University have developed a device that appears to repair damaged pathways in the brains of rats, according to a news release.
Scientists hope the discovery will help those who have brain damage from stroke or have traumatic brain injuries, in particular those who served in the military. The research was partially funded by the U.S. Department of Defense.
The device, which is lightweight and battery-operated, monitors the neurons firing in the brain and helps restore communication patterns that have been disrupted, according to the release.
In the study, scientists found that, with the device switched on, brain-damaged rats were able to reach and grasp for food pellets at pre-injury levels after two weeks, while rats with the device switched off were not able to do so easily or at all.
The next step is primate testing before clinical trials for humans, according to the release.
The findings have been published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
To see a YouTube video of the rats performing the experiment, visit www.youtube.com/watch?v=I7b5w3vgJMM.