Reconnecting the Hand and Arm to the Brain – Bridging the Mind And Body

Previously, a team of researchers from University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center and Case Western Reserve University, in collaboration with the BrainGate2 consortium, developed a system of muscle stimulation controlled by a brain-computer interface that allowed a paralyzed person to move his previously immobile arm and hand. Now, the same group of biomedical pioneers have taken the next step in advancing a platform to allow reanimation of paralyzed limbs under direct control of the brain.

The upgraded system, called ReHAB (for “Reconnecting the Hand and Arm to the Brain”), uses an array of several sensors surgically implanted into different brain areas along with high-density stimulating electrodes placed directly on hand, arm, and shoulder nerves. The researchers work with the new system to give paralyzed people the ability to do more than ever before. A clinical trial is underway to evaluate its safety and effectiveness.

“With ReHAB, we are implanting a sophisticated system that lets the brain move the arm in natural ways using thought alone, something that has never been done before”

Jonathan Miller, MD, former Professor of Neurosurgery at UH and Case Western Reserve School of Medicine

“ReHAB is different from previous work in the area in several ways,” said Dr. Miller. “For the first time, we are simultaneously looking at several different brain areas involved in movement planning. In addition, we are using new peripheral nerve electrodes that were initially designed by Dustin Tyler, PhD (the Kent H. Smith Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Case Western Reserve University, and Associate Director, Cleveland Advanced Platform Technology), to provide stimulation to sensory nerves so that amputees could better use prosthetic arms.

About This Study

The purpose of this research study is to examine the feasibility of a system that involves implanting small electrodes in the parts of the brain that control movement and sensation, and combining that with electrodes in the upper arm and shoulder to activate paralyzed muscles of the arm and hand. This system is intended for people with extensive paralysis in their arms. The small electrodes in the brain will be used to attempt to measure intended movements, and the muscles in the arm and hand will be stimulated to attempt to follow those intentions.

Study Information

The study is a prospective, non-randomized, open-label, exploratory safety/feasibility trial of up to 12 subjects. The Primary Endpoint will be evaluation over the first 13 months after implantation, after which the subjects will have the option of removal of the device or continued participation in a long-term study for an additional 5 years, for a total of up to 73 months.

Detailed program information and criteria available at:

You may also find more information at


Reconnecting the Hand and Arm to the Brain (ReHAB)

BrainGate2: Bridging Paralysis

Principal Investigators: Ajiboye, A Bolu, PhD; Graczyk, Emily, PhD Robert Kirsch, PhD; Jennifer Sweet, MD

Program Contact: Bill Memberg

Contact Number: (216) 957-3606

Contact Email:

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