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Improved electrode technology can help people with paralysis walk again, study shows

Patients in the study were able to take steps one day after surgery.
Aaron Baker
Posted at 4:54 PM, Feb 07, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-07 16:54:04-05

Electrodes are helping people with paralysis walk again.

Spinal cord stimulation isn’t a new approach in helping people get back on their feet.

People have previously been able to recuperate some movement with this type of therapy.

But a team of Swiss scientists has been able to improve that effort and help people take steps on a treadmill just one day after surgery.

The results of the study were published Monday in the journal Nature Medicine.

Participants had devices with 16 electrodes implanted in an area between the vertebrae and spinal cord membrane.

The electrodes received currents from a pacemaker placed under the abdomen’s skin.

Researchers were able to send electrical pulses to the pacemaker to activate patients’ muscles.

They said the new electrode treatment can target a broader area of the spinal cord, which stimulated both trunk and leg muscles.

The new treatment also uses a timed sequence of stimulations, which can help trigger movement and attempt to mimic the natural pattern of muscle activation that allows people to walk.

Researchers are planning a larger clinical trial in the United States.

They expect the technology will be widely effective for spinal cord injuries.

It make between three to four years before the technology is available to patients.

Electrodes are helping people with paralysis walk again.

Spinal cord stimulation isn’t a new approach in helping people get back on their feet.

People have previously been able to recuperate some movement with this type of therapy.

But a team of Swiss scientists has been able to improve that effort and help people take steps on a treadmill just one day after surgery.

The results of the study were published Monday in the journal Nature Medicine.

Participants had devices with 16 electrodes implanted in an area between the vertebrae and spinal cord membrane.

The electrodes received currents from a pacemaker placed under the abdomen’s skin.

Researchers were able to send electrical pulses to the pacemaker to activate patients’ muscles.

They said the new electrode treatment can target a broader area of the spinal cord, which stimulated both trunk and leg muscles.

The new treatment also uses a timed sequence of stimulations, which can help trigger movement and attempt to mimic the natural pattern of muscle activation that allows people to walk.

Researchers are planning a larger clinical trial in the United States.

They expect the technology will be widely effective for spinal cord injuries.

It make between three to four years before the technology is available to patients.