MEDICAL BREAKTHROUGH: Three Paralyzed Men Can Walk Again After Receiving Spinal Implant

Grant Boone
November 3, 2018

It's very rare to see a spinal cord that was this silent, ' says Grégoire Courtine, a neuroscientist at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, referring to an nearly undetectable level of electrical activity in Tobler's lower spine. David when was asked about this, he told that this treatment really meant a lot of him and he was surprised that how this really worked and what could have he done if he was not able to walk. Here we introduce targeted spinal cord stimulation neurotechnologies that enabled voluntary control of walking in individuals who had sustained a spinal cord injury more than four years ago and presented with permanent motor deficits or complete paralysis despite extensive rehabilitation. The man began to walk again, it became possible thanks to spalna implant. "We were thus able to mimic in real time how the brain naturally activates the spinal cord", said Courtine.

After several months of intense physical therapy, the patients could start walking hands-free. The team's cocktail ofneuronactivating chemicals and electrical stimulation might be a precursor to future treatments for disabled humans, researchers say.

The researchers had to adjust the details for each of the three patients in the study, adapting to the individual measurements of each person's spinal cord.

"This opens a completely novel avenue for spinal cord injury rehabilitation". Within one week of starting the study, all the participants could walk using body weight support. The researchers administered the EES in bursts that were controlled wirelessly. With EES switched on, he's able to walk using a walker. Walking actually came in fourth, behind sexual function, bladder and bowel movement, and the ability to control body posture. "Now I can walk short distances with the help of electrical stimulation and even without electrical stimulation", he says.

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For Courtine, Bloch, and their colleagues, the next step is to explore results in people with recent injuries, where "the potential for plasticity is elevated and the neuromuscular system has not yet undergone the atrophy that follows chronic paralysis", they write. He is also starting a new company called GTX Medical to continue helping patients after the study, and to promote the technology.

"I remember the first time we went outside by the lake here in Switzerland, and one of our participants who was bound to a wheelchair for seven years just walked ... for about 500 meters".

Even within the small group of three patients, the results have been markedly different.

The results of the experiment on patients exceeded all expectations - they were able to regain control of the muscles of the legs. 'By delivering the patterned stimulation, they were able to be more coordinated and fluid in stepping, ' Moritz says. 'And [Tobler] needs a walker.' Courtine built a mobile app that allows the patients to turn their stimulators on or off remotely, so they could train at home after the study ended.

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