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Valley Man Gets Prosthetic Arm Controlled by Brain - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Valley Man Gets Prosthetic Arm Controlled by Brain

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There is a revolutionary new prosthetic arm that is controlled by a person's thoughts, and it's all possible thanks to a special surgery.

A man from Breckenridge, MN is one of the first people to get the procedure in Minnesota.

Few things slow down outdoors man and father-of-two, Mike Jirak. But when his milk truck overturned four years ago, he lost his left arm in the accident that nearly took his life. "We figured the fluid sloshed and rolled the trailer," he said.

But now Jirak is getting back some of what he lost.

Advanced Arm Dynamics fit him on Tuesday, for the first time, with a prosthetic arm, controlled not by flexing bicep and tricep but instead controlled by his thoughts.

How is this possible? Jirak had a surgery on his residual arm at the Mayo Clinic called targeted muscle reinnervation (TMR.)

Pat Prigge is a certified prothetist and clinical manager at Advanced Arm Dynamics in Maple Grove. He says TMR "basically takes the nerves that are already in the arm that would have gone down the forearm and rewires them up to the muscles that he still has. So it basically doubles the information that we have to control the arm."

Jirak's thoughts travel from his brain to the nerves plugged back into muscles to the sensors in the prosthesis.

"He's using a conscious intuitive thought of, 'I want to close my hand' and his hand closes," Prigge said.

"It's unbelievable to watch that it's happening," Jirak said as he opened and closed the hand on his new prosthetic arm.

Since losing his arm, Jirak has figured out ways to do the things he loves.

But what does he most look forward to doing better? "To be honest with you? Pumping my shotgun," he said.

Holding a fishing rod, tying up the boat, they're all now just an arm's length and a thought away.

"I'm excited to see what its capabilities are and trust me, I'll put it to the test," Jirak said.
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