Words by Abi Scaife
Electric pulses delivered to spinal nerves are helping paralysed people to walk again.
Wait, really? That’s incredible!
Isn’t it? So far, trials have helped 12 people to walk again, including three who were fully paralysed and had no feeling below their legs.
So how does it work?
The treatment is something called ‘epidural electrical stimulation’ or EES. In short, a device that sends electrical pulses to stimulate nerves in the spine is implanted into the spines of people suffering from paralysis.
This is combined with therapeutic training, and so far all 12 people have regained some movement.
What’s even more amazing is that four people no longer need the EES device to walk, suggesting that the treatment isn’t a ‘band-aid’ but a way of reversing the effects of paralysis.
The trials are being performed by Dr. Grégoire Courtine at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne, Switzerland.