Paraplegic Man Regains Voluntary Movement with Implanted Device and Rehab

Scientists have made remarkable strides toward spinal cord injury treatment proving it with technology that has helped a paraplegic man stand on his own and even move. Experts believe that technology is developing so quickly that soon paralyzed people will have hope that they may soon be able to walk again.

According to WebMD, a new electronic device that works like a pacemaker can be placed on the spinal column that helps restore the transmission of nervous impulses past the point of the injury. The device receives the impulses from the brain when the patient wants to move and then routes them appropriately to their intended destination via electrodes that are attached to the patient’s spinal column.

The development is hailed as an “unprecedented” breakthrough in the treatment of spinal cord injuries that promises even greater future developments.

Perhaps the significance of the new technology is that it can benefit people who were injured a long time ago as well as those who have fresh injuries: thousands of people can benefit from this medical breakthrough.

The news of the new spinal injury treatment is not something that came easily. For more than three decades, scientists have worked on both the concepts behind it as well as the electronic device that makes it possible.

According to the WebMD report, this is the first time that paraplegic patients have been able to intentionally move after experiencing what had traditionally been described as a permanent injury.

The case study in the published story describes one recipient of the epidural treatment technology, Rob Summers. He was a baseball player with a promising future until a car hit him and he became paralyzed.

His successful treatment has not totally relied on electronics and treatment. He has been trying to learn how to move for two years under intensive therapy in preparation to learn to control the implanted device. Just reading about it makes it sound easy, but actually moving with the device obviously takes a lot more work and patience.

After being able to move, however, Summers described the wonderful feeling of being able to do something he had been told that he would never be able to do again. He’s not going to stop with just the simple movements he can now perform. He says that he intends to stick with the program until he can walk and play baseball.

For his sake and the sakes of thousands of others with similar conditions, doctors planning on making that dream reality.