Spinal implant helps three paralysed men walk again
By Pallab Ghosh
Science correspondent, BBC News
“Three paralysed men, who were told they would spend the rest of their lives in a wheelchair, are able to walk again thanks to doctors in Switzerland.
An electrical device inserted around the men’s spines boosted signals from their brains to their legs.
And it also helped damaged nerves in the spinal cord to regrow.
The researchers hope that this unexpected bonus will enable some paralysed people ultimately to regain independent movement.
BBC News has had exclusive access to the patients in the clinical trial, the results of which are published in the journal Nature.
The first patient to be treated was 30-year-old Swiss man David M’zee, who suffered a severe spinal injury seven years ago in a sporting accident.
‘Try the impossible’
David’s doctor said he would never walk again.
However, thanks to an electrical implant developed by a team at École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), he can walk more than half a mile with the implant turned on.”
Information flyer for patients: https://www.sci-research.uzh.ch/dam/jcr:17152b75-ed5d-425c-8ee4-4ef44c821483/STIMO_Flyer_E.pdf
The team behind
More about Prof. Courtine and his team: https://courtine-lab.epfl.ch/
More about Prof. Bloch: https://www.chuv.ch/fr/neurochirurgie/nch-home/le-service-en-bref/notre-equipe/nos-medecins/pre-jocelyne-bloch/
More about the robotic system FLOAT: https://www.thefloat.reha-stim.com
Targeted neurotechnology restores walking in humans with spinal cord injury, Nature, Nov.
1st, 2018, https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-018-0649-2
Electrical spinal cord stimulation must preserve proprioception to enable locomotion in
humans with spinal cord injury, Nature Neuroscience, Nov. 1st, 2018,