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MDLinxParalyzed Man Walks Again via Thought-controlled Implants

The implants restored communication between his brain and spinal cord, thus enabling him to take “natural steps.”

In an unprecedented breakthrough, a paralyzed man has regained the ability to walk through the use of two implants that reconnect brain-spinal cord communication, setting a new precedent for advancements in medical technology.

Key Points:

  • A paralyzed man, Gert-Jan, regained walking ability using only his thoughts, facilitated by two implants.
  • The achievement is the result of over a decade of research by a French-Swiss team.
  • Last year, this team enabled three paralyzed patients to walk using a spinal cord implant, but this required manual initiation of movement.
  • Gert-Jan’s system combines a brain-computer interface with the spinal implant, decoding brain signals in real time to stimulate leg movement.

Additional Points:

  • The brain-computer interface uses AI algorithms to interpret the patient’s intended leg movements.
  • Information from the brain is transmitted to the spinal implant via a portable device.
  • Post-implant, Gert-Jan reported enhanced sensory perception and motor skills, even when the system was inactive.
  • This progress suggests that the brain-spinal cord connection promotes reorganization of neuronal networks at the injury site.


  • Although the technology holds promise for restoring functions in arms and hands or treating paralysis from stroke, widespread availability will require many more years of research.

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“Previous patients walked with a lot of effort—now one just needs to think about walking to take a step.”

Gregoire Courtine
Neuroscientist and Study Co-author
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