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Spinal Stimulation Lets Paralyzed Patients Move Their Legs Again Options
Posted: Sunday, April 13, 2014 12:00:00 AM
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Spinal Stimulation Lets Paralyzed Patients Move Their Legs Again

Four men who had been paralyzed from the chest down for more than two years regained the ability to voluntarily move their legs and feet after having an electrical device implanted in their spines. Though the procedure did not restore their ability to walk, simply being able to control the movement of their once-paralyzed limbs has had far-reaching benefits both physical—increased muscle mass, improved bladder and sexual function—and psychological. It remains unclear why epidural stimulation has this effect, but researchers suspect it makes the lower spinal cord more excitable and therefore more receptive to signals from the brain. More...
Posted: Sunday, April 13, 2014 5:53:39 AM
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When we hear the news about all the bad people in this world (from dictators who seize other countries to street thugs who hurt other people), this kind of article reminds us of the good people, such as the people in the medical field who discover new ways to alleviate human suffering. These are the people whom the public (and the media) should idolize -- not hypocritical activists, silly movie stars, overpaid athletes, etc.
Posted: Sunday, April 13, 2014 10:40:13 AM

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Just wonderful! I knew about successful experiments on rats with electrical stimulation of their intentionally damaged spinal cords. It is great that paralyzed people will have a chance to move again!
I know a 21-year old guy who is paralyzed below his cheast after a shooting incident. There is a chance for him too, I hope! I always have some very tragic feeling when I hear about young people confined ot wheelchairs.
Posted: Sunday, April 13, 2014 11:03:05 AM

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How does it work?

In most spinal cord injuries only a small amount of the tissue is damaged so many nerve cells remain.

The researchers say these cells pick up signals from the legs and respond automatically. This is what allows a healthy person to stand still or walk without actively thinking about it and it is this process the doctors were trying to tap into.

But after a spinal injury the cells need help, in this case precise electric stimulation.

It mimics a message from the brain to start moving and changes the "mood" of the spinal cord so that it is able to hear the information which is coming in from the legs and respond. Researchers say this, coupled with intensive training, allowed Rob to stand or walk while supported on a treamill.

The researchers admit to having "no idea" about how the brain was also able to gain direct control of the toes, knee and hips.

They speculate that some nerve cells are being reactivated or maybe more of them are being created allowed signals from the brain to pass down the spinal cord.
Posted: Saturday, April 19, 2014 10:10:03 AM

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Modern technology is amazing.
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