Small, Electronic Device Helps to Reverse Paralysis

bodymapScientists at the University of Louisville, Kentucky are beginning to see success in a small, implantable device designed to help paralyzed patients gain movement in dormant nerves. The device is roughly the size of a small pager and is implanted in the abdomen, just below the skin, and contains electrodes which are attached to the spinal cord. Once calibrated, the device is controlled by a handheld remote which allows the wearer to select which circuits (nerves) they want stimulated; for instance, the user can select to move the toes on their left foot or bend their right knee.

The system has only been tested on three patients so far, and the success is limited as the patient needs to have the device activated in order for the paralysis to remain reversed. However, the electrical stimulation seems to have unexpected long-lasting results that continue even after the device was no longer in use, such as lowered blood pressure and improved bladder and bowel control. The research team is hopeful that their findings will help to expand the world of recovery for paralyzed patients.

(Source: Popular Science)

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