Paraplegia: a nerve pacemaker three men can walk again

Neuro-scientists succeed in it more and more often that Paraplegics can move autonomously. Now, researchers from Lausanne have brought three young men again on the legs, sitting for years in a wheelchair. That seemed previously impossible.

Cross-paralyzed the reports section is often that you have to go in a dream, running, dancing… When you Wake up, waiting for the wheelchair. The neuro-science is the best way to make the dream a reality. Lately, there were always success stories of restored nerve pathways, or the activation of signals between the brain and the legs.

The latest good news comes from the Technical University (EPFL) in Lausanne, Switzerland. After years of experiments with mice, it has succeeded there, the Team led by Grégoire Courtine, to allow three paraplegic men independently.

Targeted nerve impulses in the legs

A small implant similar to a pacemaker in her back nerves are stimulated in the spinal cord, which are able to send the Signal “movement” of the legs. The control is done via a micro-computer that the Patient carries. A prerequisite for the success was that the patients still had a residual of intact nerves in the spinal cord. This can enable the electrical nerve stimulator.

The Unique thing is that for the first time, Paraplegics came back on the legs that were already between four and seven years in a wheelchair. So far, it seemed impossible that a paralysis can be overcome after such a long time.

In addition, the first successes came after a few days. Back steps of a paraplegic by spinal cord stimulation in the United States required months-long intensive Training.

Walking, standing, Cycling – approach, everything is possible again

The three subjects from the pilot study can be used to operate a seat on a Bicycle or using a Walker independently. In part, you can move your muscles even without the electrical impulses. The steps are not so round as in a Healthy and you need in everyday life even your wheelchair.

Happy and grateful to the Patinten from the laboratory of Dr. Courtine are still, as they showed in a contribution from the BBC: The dream of a carefree had come to Go closer, said about Gertan Oskan, a 35-year-old Dutchman, of the prior seven years, a car has approached.

The 48-year-old Sebastian Tobler, paralyzed after a Bicycle accident, is glad to be able to be converted recumbent bike now, at least in part, with his legs driving.

A Kilometer to feet – after seven years in a wheelchair

The greatest progress has been made, the 30-year-old Davis, Mzee, was not able to move after a sports accident seven years ago, his legs. Now the Swiss go up to a Kilometer using the stimulator. Some of the steps he can walk without any support. The Neuro-pacemaker stimulates the formation of new nerve cells.

With this effect, the Swiss neuro-scientists had not expected originally. Now are are convinced that your method would have the greatest effect if the cross-section of the implant paralyzed would get very soon after the injury. Then the Chance for a Regeneration of the nerve is greatest.

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For wide use is still not Mature enough

The implant is equipped for a continuous operation, or outside of the laboratory situation in Lausanne can be used. The electrical pulses are not to be switched off after a short time unpleasant, and must, in addition, the expensive System is still stable.

Up to a therapeutic use there is still a long way off. The next scheduled step in a larger series of experiments in Europe and the USA. You should start in three years.

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No hope in the case of complete spinal cord transection

The Downer news is that there is no hope for patients in whom the spinal cord is completely severed, and thus the communication between the brain and the affected limbs final demolition. But that may change in the foreseeable future – the current progress in the treatment of paraplegia are certainly not the last.