Paralyzed Man Stands Thanks to Experimental Spine Implant
Lead by Susan Harkema, the team of researchers in Louisville collaborated with UCLA and the California Institute of Technology in a study to gauge the effects of continual direct electrical current may have on the spinal cords of paralyzed patients. As spinal injury tends only to damage certain segments of the spine, the scientists hypothesized that stimulation via implanted electrodes may stir the intact neurons to compensate. The implant essentially mimics the brain signals normally needed to control motor movement, and along with rigorous physical therapy, may help wheelchair-bound patients walk again, scientists theorized. But they never expected it to happen so fast. Summers, pictured right, was able to stand after only three days of electrical stimulation.
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