Electrical device helps paralyzed men move legs

Written by Community Health Network on 4/8/2014 12:30:00 PM

An experiment by a team of researchers at the University of Louisville and the University of California-Los Angeles has produced unbelievable results for four subjects.

An electrical device has restored some voluntary movement to four men who are paralyzed from the waist down.

"The message here is that patients with spinal cord injury may no longer necessarily say it's a sentence of complete, permanent paralysis," said Roderic Pettigrew, director of the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering, the federal agency that helped fund the research. "Spinal cord injury is devastating, but now there is hope."

An electrical device was placed in the four men's spines, and when the device is activated an electrical current is sent coursing up through the spine creating signals between the brain and legs that were believed to have been completely lost.

All four men can lift their legs, flex their ankles and support their own weight while standing. While none can walk and must still use a wheelchair, all four have regained bladder and bowel control, sexual function and the ability to regulate their blood pressure and body temperature – even when the epidural stimulation device is not running.

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Source: USA Today and AP

Posted in: Orthopedic Care

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