A huge breakthrough for paralysed patients .. walking again!! .. science fiction ?!!Created by:
In a surprising breakthrough, paralysed patients due to severe spinal cord injuries have recovered the ability to move their legs after training with an exoskeleton linked to their brain – with one even able to walk using two crutches.
Scientists based in Sao Paulo, Brazil, developed the Walk Again Project, thinking that they could help paraplegics to move using the exoskeleton controlled by their thoughts.
But they were astonished to discover that during the training, the eight patients all started to regain the sense of touch and movement distal to the injury to their spine.
It was previously thought that the nerves in seven of the patients’ spines had been completely damaged.
An article in the Journal Scientific Reports that: “While patient one was initially not even able to stand using braces when placed in an orthostatic posture, after 10 months of training the same patient became capable of walking using a walker, braces and the assistance of one therapist.
“At this stage, this patient became capable of producing voluntary leg movements mimicking walking, while suspended overground.
“In another example, patient seven … was capable of walking with two crutches and lower limb orthoses ... while requiring no assistance by a therapist.”
Dr Miguel Nicolelis, director of the Duke University Centre for Neuroengineering in the US, said previously seven patients were classified as having total paralysis, but had now been upgraded to “partial paralysis”.
And he added: “The recovery has not stopped yet.”
He said the researchers had “never even imagined” this kind of effect would be possible and said they were now “very excited” at seeing what they believe is a “key milestone” in helping paraplegics.
Raquel Siganporia, vice chair of the Spinal Injuries Association, said they were "encouraged to hear of the developments that the Walk Again Project has achieved and what it can mean for the future of spinal cord people".
"The research is still at an early stage and currently only tested on a small minority of spinal cord injured people, namely paraplegics," Ms Siganporia said.
"It is therefore a long way from being a proven treatment for all spinal cord injured people."
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photo from: newslaunches.com