A few days ago I watched, amazed, a video of a man paralysed from the waist down going for a walk outdoors.
Using a frame as support, he was able to move under his own steam thanks to an electrical device surgically implanted in his spine.
The patient, a 29-year-old Italian called Michel Roccati, had been badly injured in a motorcycle accident in 2017, but work by researchers from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne meant he could now walk, using a computer tablet wirelessly linked to the implant to stimulate the nerve cells — neurons — in his spinal cord.
‘The first few steps were incredible — a dream come true!’ he said. ‘I’ve been through some pretty intense training in the past few months, and I’ve set myself a series of goals.
‘For instance, I can now go up and down stairs, and I hope to be able to walk one kilometre by this spring.’
This ‘medical miracle’ is the culmination of research on implants that were originally developed over 30 years ago to block pain signals travelling down the spine. In fact, this treatment is offered on the NHS to patients in chronic pain who have tried other approaches.
More recently, researchers around the world began to wonder if these implants could be modified so that rather than block nerve messages, they stimulated them, to help patients with broken spinal cords regain movement.
Click here to read full article https://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-10553699/DR-MICHAEL-MOSLEY-British-patients-soon-miracle-implant-walk-again.html