Four paralyzed people were able to voluntarily wiggle their toes and flex their legs, after researchers surgically implanted an electrical stimulator just above the spine’s dura, in the epidura.
This modern day miracle comes thanks to a promising new study some are calling a breakthrough in spinal cord injury treatment.
The key to the achievement, attests the study’s author Susan Harkema of the Kentucky Spinal Cord Injury Research Center at the University of Louisville and the Frazier Rehab Institute, was stimulation of the spinal cord using a commercially-available electrical stimulator commonly used to treat pain. The device is surgically implanted just above the spine’s dura, in the epidura, where animal studies showed that it could appropriately relay signals to the legs and lower extremities.
“What we have uncovered is a fundamentally new intervention strategy that can affect voluntary movement in people with complete paralysis, even years after their injury,” Harkema said.
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