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New spinal cord implant helps completely paralysed patients stand and walk again

07-Feb-2022

Key points from article :

A paralysed man with a severed spinal cord has been able to walk again, thanks to an implant developed by Swiss researchers.

Implant sends signals directly to his legs enabling him to walk, but only when the implant is on.

Speed of recovery amazed the neurosurgeon who inserted the implant and attached electrodes to individual nerve fibres.

Another paralysed patient has been able to become a father.

So far nine people received the implant and regained the ability to walk.

Used the implant to practise walking - which exercises muscles, improves their health - and often, restores a little bit of movement.

Technology is still too complicated for everyday life, nonetheless it is a major step to improving quality of life.

"This is not a cure for spinal cord injury...but it is a significant improvement," - Grégoire Courtine, who led the team.

Courtine believes that his implant technology could be used with nerve regeneration treatments.

Research by EPFL published in Nature Medicine.

This early-phase technology could be game changer for spinal injuries very soon

Mentioned in this article:

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Academic

IRP chair in Spinal Cord Repair - Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL).

Journal

Scientific Journal providing information from all areas of medicine.

Institute

University that specializes in natural sciences and engineering.