There could be hope on the horizon for those suffering complete spinal cord injuries. This follows a report that four US paraplegic men were able to move their legs after the implantation and activation of an epidural stimulator. The stimulator delivers a continuous electrical current to the lower spinal cords mimicking signals the brain normally transmits to initiate movement. The impact of the stimulation was reported to have intensified when it was coupled with rehabilitation therapy.
As well as regaining involuntary movement, there was an improvement in participants overall health from an increase in muscle mass and regulation in blood pressure to reduced fatigue and general wellbeing.
The study, which was carried out by a team of international scientists from the University of Louisville, UCLA and the Pavlov Institute of Physiology, was reported in the medical journal, Brain.