Scientists have developed an implant that will allow paralyzed people to walk

Scientists have developed an implant that will allow paralyzed people to walk

Swiss scientists have developed a device that stimulates the spinal cord. Thanks to him, paralyzed people will be able to get on their feet a day after surgery. Read today in USA.ONE magazine:

The implant will allow paralyzed people to walk again

This is a real breakthrough in medicine!

An implant for paralyzed people has been created in Switzerland Scientists have developed an implant that will allow paralyzed people to walk

In 2017, Italian Michel Roccati (pictured) was injured in a motorcycle accident. His spinal cord was damaged and the man lost the ability to walk. After surgery on the spinal cord, in which surgeons implanted an electrode, Roccati began to stand again, take a shower without a chair and even walk around the city with a walker.

"I am free and can walk wherever I want!& #34; Michel rejoices.

The paralyzed Italian was one of three men aged 29 to 41 who took part in the STIMO clinical trial led by Dr. Jocelyn Bloch of the University of Lausanne and Grégoire Cortin of the Federal Institute of Technology in Switzerland. The patients were implanted with 16-electrode implants in the epidural space between the vertebrae and the spinal cord membrane. The current in the electrodes comes from a stimulator sewn under the skin of the abdomen.

All operated were completely paralyzed, and two of them lost their sensitivity due to injuries. But thanks to the devices, doctors have been able to use a tablet computer to receive electrical impulses sent to epidural electrodes through the implant to activate patients' muscles. Shortly after the operation, the men began to move and take their first steps on the treadmill a day after the implant was placed.

"This is an extremely emotional moment, as patients realize that they can walk again,&#34 ; Bloch said.

Doctors have been studying electrical stimulation of the spinal cord for 30 years. Initially, the technology was supposed to relieve pain, but now it helps to get back on your feet. Previous research from the University of Louisville showed that people who were completely paralyzed could still walk again within a few months after rehabilitation with electrical spinal cord stimulation. As early as a week after surgery with STIMO implantation, all three patients were able to walk independently using body weight support from suspension straps and bars.

"Rehabilitation is still important, but for the first time we have an immediate result. Paralyzed people, devoid of sensation, were able to stand and walk," — shared Kortin.

Scientists have developed an implant that will allow paralyzed people to walk

According to neurosurgeon Nandan Lad of Duke University, the developed device will allow the treatment of tens of thousands of patients with spinal cord injury, deprived of another opportunity to stand up. Lad was not involved in the new study, but is leading it in the US. The new set of electrodes gives access to a wider area of ​​the spinal cord to stimulate the muscles of the legs and body. Due to the optimal placement of the device and the supply of impulses, muscle activity is achieved. Accurate electrode placement is the key to quickly stimulating the right muscle groups, Lad says.

The STIMO test suggests a new way to keep moving. The synchronized sequence of stimulations is generated by motor responses to different electrical discharges, triggers movement and mimics the natural pattern of muscle activation required for walking. Susan Harkema, professor of neurosurgery, who led the research in Louisville, says the two types of stimulation can generate motion patterns through a patient's spine and some function is preserved even with complete paralysis.

The STIMO implant will allow people with spinal cord injuries to walk, but only while it's on. Without impulses and stimulation, movement is impossible. It needs to be replaced every 9 years, while the electrodes can remain in place for life. Through training, patients will be able to increase endurance and expand the range of activities. After the operation, they are waiting for 1-2 hours of physiotherapy 4 times a week. 3-4 months of regular training allowed one of the participants to stand for 2 hours in a row, and the other to walk 500 meters on their own. The third was able to climb the stairs.

The tablet used in the study is equipped with special coded programs, including swimming, walking and standing. The more patients train, the more they achieve. Cortin and Bloch plan to make the implant more comfortable for daily use. For example, integrate the program with smartphones or smart watches. After that, the team is going to conduct a major clinical trial in the US. It will take 3-4 years for the technology to become commercially available. The FDA has already called the device "a breakthrough in medicine" and wants to bring the technology to life as soon as possible.

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