A team at a Swiss university has developed technology that can allow paraplegics with severe spinal cord injuries to walk again. The system developed by Professor Grégoire Courtine, from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology and Jocelyne Bloch from Lausanne University Hospital, involves using electrical stimulation to reactivate spinal neurons. The team first made headlines back in 2018, when the technology allowed paraplegic David Mzee to walk again with the help of a walker after years of paralysis.
The newest version of the technology, which now uses advanced artificial intelligence and improved implants, can allow people with a completely severed spinal cord to regain use of the lower body. This more sophisticated system enables paraplegics to stand, walk, and even swim and ride a bike. The experience of three patients on who the system was tested was published this week in the journal “Nature Medicine.”
While the new technology is impressive and encouraging, the developers stress that there’s still a long way to go before the tech could be used regularly to help paralyzed people walk again. But their successes prove that they’re heading in the right direction. “This study further demonstrates the benefits of our approach,” says Courtine. “We’re now working…to turn our discoveries into genuine treatments that can improve the lives of thousands of people around the world.”
Source: EPFL News