A dogged quest to fix broken spinal cords pays off with new hopes for the paralyzed…

Read the Full Article at StatNews:

There are tiny rat treadmills in the lab. And jars of Nutella, also for the rats. There are video cameras, heaps of electrodes, and instruments for slicing frozen brain tissue.

And in the center of it all: Reggie Edgerton, a 75-year-old physiologist who has spent four decades on a stubborn quest to prove, in the face of scientific ridicule, that severed spinal cords can be jolted back to life — and that paralyzed patients need not be paralyzed forever.

Reggie Edgerton in his lab

Reggie Edgerton in his lab


Now, he’s got the data to prove it.

“Spinal cord injury may no longer mean a lifelong sentence of paralysis,” said Dr. Roderic Pettigrew, director of the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering, which is funding some of Edgerton’s research.

Using currents of electricity to jump-start injured spinal cords, Edgerton and his colleagues have given nearly a dozen paralyzed men, including a college baseball star and a polar explorer, the ability to move their own limbs. The men have been able to once again control their bladders and bowels, function sexually, stand upright — and with assistance, take steps.

The history of paralysis research is littered with overhyped promises and false hopes. But many physicians and patient advocates say Edgerton’s work is one of the first approaches that may actually help large numbers of patients in the near future, particularly those with fairly recent injuries.

This entry was posted in Chronic Spinal Cord Injury Research, Rehabilitation, Spinal Research and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to A dogged quest to fix broken spinal cords pays off with new hopes for the paralyzed…

  1. Tammy Aguilar says:

    We would really like information on this subject. My husband has been paraplegic for 3 years now, he’s only 46 years old and is confined to his wheelchair. It began with him not being able to walk without holding on to something or someone. He had a cyst on his spinal cord that was pressing down it almost split it completely. They removed it & he went to rehab to learn how to walk again, he slowly started on a walker but developed severe spasms about 1 year after he got released which landed him on wheelchair for the past 1 1/2 years. We both have so much faith that one day he will walk again, any information on this procedure would be greatly appreciated. Thank You & God Bless.

    • christalpowell says:

      Hello Tammy. Currently the Reggie Edgerton lab is doing small group studies. His company, Neurorecovery Technologies is working on getting the implants to market. It appears to be a ways off however. Hopefully it won’t be too much longer. We’ll keep watching to see when larger human trials may be available. I’ll be sure to post about that when the time comes. Best of luck to you and your husband!

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