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'The Electric Mind': Can science help paralyzed people take back control of their bodies?

Promotional image for Jessica Benko's story
Promotional image for Jessica Benko's story "The Electric Mind."

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Now a story about a tragedy, a brave woman, and a possible medical breakthrough.

One afternoon, Cathy Hutchinson was gardening, when she began to feel strange and dizzy. Soon after she passed out. When she awoke she was paralyzed, unable to move or speak.

Doctors realized she'd had a stroke in the base of her brain which essentially severed her spinal cord, so her brain could no longer communicate with her body. But Cathy was still there, able to see, hear and think. But a new experimental technology called BrainGate at Brown University hopes to allow immobilized patients to control robotic limbs with their thoughts. 

Jessica Benko writes about Cathy Hutchinson in the most recent issue of The Atavist.