Artificial Hand That Can Feel

1.2 million Americans are living with a lost limb. That's about one out of every 200 people in the United States. 200,000 rely on a prosthetic. As Robyn Haines reports, for the first time, a new arm may give amputees more control and even the ability to feel. Mike Moran is a professional painter. One day, his ladder connected with a power line. After 25 surgeries, Mike is back outside, doing it all with one hand. Mike lost his left arm in the accident. He uses a hook to help him keep on target. Doctors at the University of Michigan are developing a prosthesis that can feel hot and cold and detect pressure. They do it by using the nerves that remain in the arm. It's called “Artificial Neuromuscular Junction.” Doctors harvest muscle cells from a patient’s thigh, grow the cells on a scaffold and coat it with a polymer that conducts electricity. The bioengineered scaffold is placed over the severed nerve endings like a cup. Right now, the new prosthesis is being tested in animals. Doctor Paul Cederna, a plastic surgeon with U of M Hospitals, hopes to test it in people in the next three years.