Paralysed patients of spinal cord injuries are given new hope to walk again with the help of an implant.
Researchers at the University of Louisville in Kentucky say at least five people who were once paralysed by devastating spinal cord injuries have been able to walk with minimal assistance after receiving electrical stimulation on the spine when combined with an intense rehabilitation and training program. This method has allowed the patients to re-educate the body and help them move their legs even though signals from the brain are cut off.
According to researchers, two patients - one with damage to the mid-cervical region and one with damage to the high-thoracic region - were able to walk with some assistance from a cane or walker after 278 sessions of epidural stimulation and gait training (a type of physical therapy) over a period of 85 weeks for the first case, and 81 sessions over a period of 15 weeks for the second.
The study estimates that 1.2 million people are dealing with paralysis from spinal cord injury in the United States.