Paralyzed men move legs after shock treatment
A team of scientists has developed an implanted device that through electrical stimulation has enabled four paralyzed young men to move their legs voluntarily.
According to a study published in the journal Brain, the device delivers an electrical current of varying frequency and intensity to specific parts of the spinal cord, which is connected to dense bundles of nerve fibers. Immediately after the device was implanted, the men were able to move their hips, knees, ankles and toes. Prior to their use of the device, two of the men were thought to be unable to recover.
When the electrical stimulation was coupled with physical therapy, researchers from the University of Louisville, Kentucky and UCLA saw that the men were progressively able to move their legs with less stimulation, which showed that the spine was learning and improving nerve function. The men also showed improvements in overall health, including increased muscle mass, blood pressure regulation and reduced fatigue.