New therapy motivates paralyzed rats to walk



If this therapy can help paralyzed rats to walk, can humans be far behind? A combination of spinal cord stimulation and robotic-aided therapy motivated paralyzed rats to learn to walk again, European researchers said Thursday, May 31. The therapy combines an electrical-chemical stimulation of the spinal cord, mimicking the signals the brain would normally send to initiate movement in the limbs. It also involves the use of a rehabilitation device that helps the rats stay upright. “What we observed in rats – the plasticity and the extent of the recovery is very surprising – so now we need to optimize all these systems for humans and do our best to at least improve functional recover,” said Gregoire Courtine, chair of the International Paraplegic Foundation in Spinal Cord Repair at the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne in Switzerland.

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