8 months ago
For the first time in three years, a paralyzed man who could not move or feel anything below his torso has stood up and moved his legs. It wasn’t a miracle, rather a miraculous advancement in technology.
The breakthrough came via via electrical stimulation of the man’s spinal cord.
The paraplegic had an electrode surgically implanted in his spine below the injured area.
The implant, put in by researchers from UCLA and Mayo Clinic, is controlled by computer-like device underneath the recipient’s skin, near in his abdomen.
The medical team says this movement shows his brain is sending signals to motor neurons in his legs—a process disrupted by the damage to the neural pathways from his spinal cord injury.
Just two weeks after surgery, he was able to control the muscles in his legs, make walking-like motions while laying on his side, and stand up independently using his arms on support bars for balance.
Similar techniques have been used to restore motion to paralyzed limbs before, but this response is the shortest recovery after surgery, according to a report in Medical Xpress.
It’s a significant improvement in technology for those with spinal cord injuries hoping to regain abilities such as step-like motions, balance control, and standing.