Paralyzed patients are walking again with help from pain stimulator

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“At least five people whose legs were completely paralyzed are walking again, two of them with no outside help, thanks to a specialized program of therapy and a pain stimulator implanted in their spines, researchers reported Monday.”

This is the latest and most dramatic advance developed at the University of Louisville in Kentucky to treat spinal cord injuries. In their report, they show that electrical stimulation of the spine coupled with intense specialized training programs can reteach the body and help move legs although the brain signals have been compromised or cut off.

“It might be that the spinal cord can act on its own, almost completely without signals from the brain, Harkema told NBC News.”

“Harkema said the spine is much more independent of the brain than had been thought. It’s the same principle that is at work when a chicken continues to run around even after its head has been cut off, she said: the spine can signal muscles to move, independently of the brain.”