Paralysis discovery: combination therapy helps individual stand and walk again. A new study suggests that the beliefs about certain paralysis types could change its existence after these results.
A 29-year-old man living for years with lower-body paralysis has recently been able to stand and walk. He has received an approach combining spinal chord stimulation and physical therapy. The man left with the condition following a snowmobile accident in 2013.
Paraplegia is the loss of muscle function that affects all or part of the torso, legs, and pelvic organs.
Designed by Specialists at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, and the University of California, Los Angeles, this new therapy features an electrical implant, stimulating nerves in the spinal chord.
In 2016, the teams started their efforts of implanting an electrode in the man’s epidural space, which is the area between the dura mater and the vertebral wall that contains the spinal cord and cerebrospinal fluid. Dr. Kendall Lee, from the Mayo Clinic conducted the surgery.
The researchers have reported the entire progress in a study paper that is now published in the journal Nature Medicine.
According to the explanation, the implant forces the relevant neural networks to activate signals that communicate “stand” and “walk.”
“What this is teaching us is that those networks of neurons below a spinal cord injury still can function after paralysis,” co-principal investigator Dr. Kendall Lee said.
“Now I think the real challenge starts, and that understands how this happened, why it happened, and which patients will respond,” the other co-principal investigator, Dr. Kristin Zhao, says.