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Why we talk with our hands – and how that may help give speech to the speechless

Krishna Shenoy | Via Stanford Medicine | December 10, 2019

Ever wonder why people talk with their hands? We all do — across cultures, throughout history. Now, a serendipitous discovery building on years of meticulous work tells us what may be the reason — or at least a reason — for it.

The discovery may also portend a potential breakthrough for those with aphasia, the brain-damage-induced loss of ability to speak, which affects one in 250 people.

Some years ago, a team of Stanford scientists led by neurosurgeon Jaimie Henderson, MD, and electrical engineer Krishna Shenoy, PhD, implanted baby-aspirin-sized multi-electrode arrays in the brains of study participants who suffered from severe limb weakness. These arrays, owing to work in Shenoy’s lab, were capable of deciphering signals in the paralyzed participants’ motor cortex: the part of the brain that controls voluntary motion… Continue reading.

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