Contents page 1 — How three paralyzed go back to page 2 learned — The electro-stimulation awakens the spinal cord On one side read

Since time immemorial, the medicine can do little if the spinal cord has suffered damage and a person can’t control, therefore, of his legs. By road traffic accidents or cancer metastases that press on the spinal cord, or other illnesses every year, 1,000 to 1,500 people in Germany are paralyzed cross-section. For you, the following applies: The loss of their movements is largely irreversible, it can’t be fixed.

For decades do not want to accept Doctors. Many dream of paraplegic people to Walk again. How far are you to this goal already, suggests a study that appears in the magazine Nature (Wagner et al., 2018). The Study authors from the University of Lausanne implanted patients and electrodes stimulated the spinal cord. Combined with intensive physical therapy three Treated were able to walk again.

Stimulation in gait training

In a cross-sectional paralysis of the spine protected the spinal cord is injured. Nerve pathways coming from the brain and motor commands to transport and such, the pull to the brain and sensations forward, be destroyed, severed, and the nerve cell body. Due to the damage to both the mobility of the people as well as your feeling in the affected regions of the body suffers. What the exact impact depends on the level of the injury. Nerve pathways close to the cervical spine is severed, are mostly arms and legs paralyzed. In addition, the most Affected of sensory disturbances of the reports from the neck down. The spinal cord in the thoracic spine, or even in the area of the lumbar spine is damaged, usually only the legs or specific muscle groups affected.

In the case of the new study, the Latter 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 in a small surgery for a Chip in the Spinal cord, which should stimulate the posterior roots of the spinal cord. This is the area where the sensitive fibers, and with them the Information of the probe and Lagesinns of the legs enter the spinal cord. For a limited time, when you were Walking, the Chip current pulses to the below the injury to the underlying nerves. In a second, also just-published study describes how the team of researchers also, such as the stimulation pattern improved (Nature Neuroscience: Wagner et al., 2018).

At the end of a three-month training, there were three patients to be able to go a mile on a treadmill and with AIDS such as a Walker – even at home. Scientists in Lausanne also developed a mobile Version of the spinal cord stimulation via Tablet and voice control, which enabled the patients outside of the laboratory, to go for a walk or to ride on a recumbent.


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