Neurology Central

Spinal cord stimulation enables paralyzed man to walk

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In a research collaboration between the Mayo Clinic (MN, USA) and the University of California Los Angeles (CA, USA), scientists have reported that spinal cord stimulation and physical therapy have helped a man – who has been paralyzed since 2013 – regain his ability to stand and walk with assistance.

With an implanted stimulator turned on, the man was able to step with a front-wheeled walker while trainers provided occasional assistance. He made 113 rehabilitation visits to the Mayo Clinic over a year, and achieved the following milestones:

  • Total distance: 102 meters
  • Total number of steps: 331
  • Total minutes walking with assistance: 16
  • Step speed: 0.20 meters per second

“What this is teaching us is that those networks of neurons below a spinal cord injury still can function after paralysis,” commented Kendall Lee (Mayo Clinic), co-principal investigator of the study.

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