Paralyzed Man Implant
May 22, 2011 by staff
Paralyzed Man Implant, After Rob Summers was paralyzed below the chest in a car accident in 2006, doctors told never to stand again. They were wrong. Despite intensive physical therapy for three years, summers condition has not improved. So in 2009, doctors implanted an electrical stimulator in the lining of his spinal cord to try to awaken your nervous system damage. Within days, summers, 25, were alone. Months later, he moved his toes, move your knees, ankles and hips and was able to take a few steps on a treadmill.
“It was the most incredible feeling,” said summers, of Portland, Ore. “After not being able to move from four years ago, I thought things could finally change.”
However, despite his renewed optimism, summers cannot stand when he is not in a treatment session with the stimulator on, and that usually travels in a wheelchair. Doctors are currently limits the use of the device for several hours at a time.
His case was described in an article published last week in the journal The Lancet. The National Institutes of Health U.S. and Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation funded the study.
For years, some people with incomplete spinal cord injuries, they have some control of its members have experienced some improvement after the experiments to electrically stimulate the muscles. But this progress has not been seen before in someone with a complete spinal cord injury.
“This is not a cure but can lead to better functionality in some patients,” said Gregoire Courtine, head of experimental neurorehabilitation at the University of Zurich.
Was not related to the case of summers. Courtine warned that the recovery of summers made no difference in patient’s daily life and that more research is needed to help people with paralysis regain enough mobility to make a difference in their normal routines.
Surgeon’s electrical stimulator implanted in the spinal cord of summers is usually used to relieve pain and can cost up to 20,000. Summers doctors implanted below normal, at the bottom of his vertebrae.
“The stimulator sends a general signal of the spinal cord to walk or stand,” said Susan Harkema, rehabilitation director of research at the Kentucky Spinal Cord Injury Research Center in Louisville and author of the Lancet study.
Harkema and colleagues were surprised summers was able to voluntarily move his legs.
“That tells us that we can access the nervous system circuits, which opens a whole new way for us to deal with the paralysis,” Harkema said.
John McDonald, director of the International Center for Spinal Cord Injury at Kennedy Krieger Institute in Baltimore, said the strategy could be quickly approved by 10 percent to 15 paralyzed patients who could benefit. Was not related to the summer’s case.
For now, Summers nearly two hours of physical therapy. “My ultimate goal is to walk and run again,” he said. “I think everything is possible and I’m going out of my wheelchair one day.”
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