How Spinal Cord Stimulation Could Help These Paralyzed Men Walk Again
Implanted device gives hope to people who were told they would never stand on two legs.
Paralysis is something that people subject to terrible injuries have to learn to live with, but a new treatment that stimulates the spinal cord could provide new hope. Described in the research journal Brain, there are already examples of people who have regained function in their legs, knees, ankles and trunk thanks to the researchers at University of Louisville, UCLA and the Pavlov Institute of Physiology.
When the stimulator, a device implanted over the spinal cord, is turned on, it mimics signals that the brain usually sends to the spinal cord. With the proper training, patients such as Rob Summers, who was hit by a car in his own driveway and paralyzed from the neck down, have been able to regain movement. Over time, patients can also perform the same movements with less stimulation, which is a promising sign.