Contents Page 1 – How three paralyzed people go back to page 2 learned – Electrostimulation wakes up the spinal cord Read on a page

From time immemorial the medicine can do little if the spinal cord is damaged and therefore a person can not control the legs. Due to traffic accidents or cancer metastases that affect the spinal cord every year or other diseases, 1,000 to 1,500 people in Germany are paralyzed in cross-section. For you, the loss of your movements is largely irreversible and can not be resolved.

I do not want to accept doctors for decades. Many dream of paraplegics to run again. How far are you at this goal, suggests a study that appears in the journal Nature (Wagner et al., 2018). The authors of the study of the University of Lausanne implanted patients and electrodes stimulated the spinal cord. In combination with intensive physiotherapy, three patients were able to walk again.

Stimulation during gait training

In a spinal cord paraplegia, the spinal cord is protected. Nerve pathways that come out of the brain and motor advancement commands and the like that pull to the brain and bring sensations forward are destroyed, severed and the nerve cell body. By impairing both the mobility of people and their feelings in the affected areas of the body suffers. How the exact impact is depends on the amount of injury. Nerve tracts near the cervical spine are severed, and most of the arms and legs are paralyzed. In addition, the reports most affected by sensory disorders are from the neck down. The spinal cord in the thoracic spine or even the lumbar spine is damaged, usually only the legs or certain muscle groups are affected.

In the case of the new study, the Latter case was the case: the three patients had suffered on average more than four years ago a spinal cord injury, were paralyzed hüftabwärts. The researchers put them into a small operation for a chip in the spinal cord, which was supposed to stimulate the posterior roots of the spinal cord. This is the area where the sensitive fibers and thus the information of the probe and the sense of position of the legs reach the spinal cord. For a limited time as you walked, the chip current pulsed below the injury of the underlying nerves. A second study, also just published, describes how the research team and the stimulation pattern improve (Nature Neuroscience: Wagner et al., 2018).

At the end of a three-month workout, three patients were able to walk a mile on a treadmill and with AIDS like a walker – even at home. The scientists in Lausanne also developed a mobile version of spinal cord stimulation via tablet and voice control, allowing patients to walk outside the lab or ride a recumbent bike.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.