Min menu


This Revolutionary Spinal Implant Allows People With Paralysis To Walk Again

This Revolutionary Spinal Implant Allows People With Paralysis To Walk Again

Freedom of movement is one of the things we have naturally in this life, but some people are sadly deprived either because of a malformation or an accident. Medicine has long tried to give these people a semblance of normal life but no real success. A recent discovery should nevertheless change things.

The discovery able to give hope to paralyzed people
A surgically implanted nerve stimulation device combined with months of strenuous training has already allowed two people with paralysis due to a traumatic injury to walk autonomously a few years after losing any voluntary muscle control. below where the spinal cord injury took place.

The teams from the Frazier Rehab Institute and the Spinal Cord Injury Research Center at the University of Louisville, Kentucky, have highlighted the details of this "epidural stimulation" protocol quite well. revolutionary. This information has been published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Dr. Claudia Angeli, first author of the study says, "It's amazing to be here and to be able to see them take their first steps. It's a moving moment for the person herself because it's something she's been told she would never be able to do again. "

A very encouraging course for many people to cross
Kelly Thomas and Jess Marquis volunteered for classic rehabilitation treatment for spinal cord injuries due to a car accident before they could participate in the study, however, both were not not able to walk. Kelly had fully recovered the use of his arms but Jess, for his part, only partially succeeded, knowing that both had kept a slight sensation in the lower part of the body.

Two other participants, who were also paraplegic but still had a sense of feeling under the injury, were unable to walk unassisted after the training sessions with the device, but they managed to stand up and move your legs.

Although this new method of treatment is still in its infancy, current results show that all the necessary nerve connections to voluntary movement are not completely damaged by the trauma to the spinal cord. Previous research conducted by the University of Louisville and other teams have shown that subcutaneously implanted electrodes can serve as a link for the locations where lesions have occurred, allowing brain signals to be connected peripheral nerves that cause contraction of muscles. Recent studies, similar devices have helped restore the use of the hands in people with partial paralysis and that of the legs for people with complete paralysis.

A process that reconnects the brain to the entire nervous system
Dr. Angeli and his colleagues placed a network of 16 electrodes in the epidural space covering the first lumbar vertebra to the first or second sacral vertebra, below the injury of each participant and covered the areas of the spinal cord who are responsible for transmitting signals to the legs. The receiver and the battery have been implanted in the abdominal area, allowing remote and wireless control of the system.

From now on, the movements of the participants are only feasible when the electrodes are under tension. However, one of the patients under the supervision of Dr. Susan Harkema was able to regain her motor skills without stimulation more than three years after training the nervous system.

"We should extend this research to more people to take advantage of the advances made by the laboratory. This represents a chance for 1.2 million people with spinal paralysis to walk again. It's a huge potential. Said Harkema.
Spinal Implant Allows People With Paralysis To Walk Again