Paralyzed after spinal cord injury take first steps
Complete paralysis of the lower limbs due to spinal cord injury no longer has to mean moving around in a wheelchair for the rest of your life. This was proven by a new therapy developed by researchers at the University of Louisville.
The study involved four people suffering from paralysis after spinal cord injury. Dw jce sposr d them manage to take the first independent step in a long time. The remaining dw jka is able to stay on its feet in a standing position. And it’s all thanks to epidural implant stimulation combined with hard training.
The experimental study was conducted at the Kentucky Spinal Cord Injury Research Center at the University of Louisville (UofL) and appeared in the „New England Journal of Medicine”.
This is not the first success for researchers with UofL, kt ers have for several years shown the enormous potential of the technology to improve quality of life – and even recovery – after spinal cord injury. The latest developments are based on studies published in „The Lancet” in 2011. They documented the success of the first epidural stimulation participant, Rob Summers, who ry has regained many motor functions as a result of the intervention.
This research had a follow-up. In 2014, in the pages of the journal „Brain” A paper was published on subsequent cases in which rych paralyzed individuals were able to regain some motor function.
– This study shows that connectivity between m zgiem and the spine can be restored cona many years after a spinal cord injury. Study participants living with full motor paralysis were able to walk, stand, regain trunk mobility and many motor functions while using an epidural stimulator – said study author Susan Harkema of UofL.
– We need to expand this research – hopefully already with improved pacemaker technology. This will allow us to assess the full potential of this method. 1.2 million wasps b living with spinal cord injury wait for help – added.
The method is a combination of a long and grueling workout with the implantation of a remote-controlled electrode in the back to stimulate those nerves in the patient’s spinal cord, kt re surviving after the injury. The stimulator produces electrical impulses with tion at different frequencies and intensities at specific locations on the lumbosacral a segment of the spinal cord. This localization corresponds to dense neural networks, which re largely control the movement of the hips, knees, ankles and toes u n g.
Training, which ry is part of the therapy, aims to help c in „remembering” walking pattern through repeated exercise, standing and pr to take a step. In motor therapy, the organ, the participant’s body is kept in a harness while specially trained personnel move his or her legs to simulate walking on a treadmill.
The participants in the latest study had been out for at least 2.5 years after spinal cord injury. They were unable to stand, walk or even move their legs. Therapy began 8-9 weeks before the implementation of the epidural stimulator. Participants began exercise training – five days a week for two hours a day. They were forced to move their limbs on a treadmill.
Although there was no change in their motor skills before the implant, after the epidural stimulation, the participants were able to make a leg movement when the stimulator was on. Dw jce of participant in managed to take their first steps, of course with assistive devices such as a walker.
– Participating in this study truly changed my life. It provided me with hope, kt I had already lost after my car accident – said Kelly Thomas, 23, of Florida. – The day that rym I took the first step I will remember for the rest of my life. He was an emotional milestone in my recovery. It’s amazing what the human body can achieve with the help of research and technology – she added.
Jeff Marquis, a 35-year-old from Wisconsin also took his first steps in a long time by participating in this study. – The first steps after the bicycle accident were a surprise and I am delighted to have made progress. My stamina has improved as I have regained my strength and independence – admitted.
– We need further research with more participants. But initial findings already confirm that the spinal cord has the ability to regenerate and regain the ability to walk with proper electrical stimulation, daily workouts – explained Claudia Angeli, co author of the study. However, in order to see the progress of the participants in the study, the implant had to be included.
A similar study with an implanted pacemaker was published by Mayo Clinic scientists. Thanks to their work, 29-year-old Jered Chinnock after just two ch weeks of training with the m stimulator head to stand and, lying on his side, perform leg movements simulating steps.
Now, after 43 weeks of intensive rehabilitation, Chinnock can stand independently on a treadmill, and with the help of a walker can even take a few steps. The results of the study were published in „Nature Medicine”.