In Switzerland, nine people with spinal paralysis start walking again thanks to electrical stimulation in damaged areas of the spinal cord – videos

Start walking again – literally – thanks to electrical stimulation of the spinal cord area. A new study conducted by the Federal Polytechnic School of Lausannein Swissand published in the journal Nature, opens up to this new discovery that could represent a real breakthrough in the treatment of patients affected by spinal paralysis, long considered irreversible. They were involved in the research nine patients with spinal paralysis which, thanks to the use of electrical stimulation of the spinal cord area associated with physiotherapy, after five months they regained the ability to walk independently. According to the authors of the study, this was possible by identifying the essential neurons to regain the ability to walk in patients with this type of injury. Although the group of neurons identified are not essential for walking Before to suffer a spinal cord injury, however, would be crucial during the treatment of epidural electrical stimulation (EES).

This technique involves stimulating neurons with electrical impulses through an implant in the spine. The researchers observed that the EES remodeled the activity of the spinal cord cells, which at the end of the impulses sent, were therefore “reorganized”. From this observation it was hypothesized that there might be a particular group of neurons responsible for the improvements found in walking following paralysis. And so did the scientists, following an electrical stimulation trial on mice with spinal cord injuries. The team then created a sort of molecular atlas of neurons in the spinal cord of mice that underwent an EES rehabilitation program, similar to that used in human patients. And with the help of artificial intelligence, which sequenced the gene activity in the cells of the mouse’s spine, the researchers were able to identify the group of “essential neurons” that allowed the mice to move.

The researchers therefore concluded that this group of neurons are the architects of the efficacy of spinal electrical stimulation therapies. “It is essential that we understand the specific role that each neuronal subpopulation plays in a complex activity such as walking,” he noted in a press release the doctor Jocelyne Bloch, neurosurgeon and author of the study. “Our new study, in which nine clinical trial patients were able to regain some degree of motor function thanks to our implants, offers valuable insights into the reorganization process of spinal cord neurons: now we can aim for manipulating these neurons to regenerate the spinal cordBloch concluded. In short, after these results, a new chapter of research opens on the molecular atlas of neurons essential to movement in humans, which could – and the conditional is a must – pave the way for personalized and potentially rehabilitating treatments for people with injuries. to the spinal cord.

Photos and videos: © NeuroRestore

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In Switzerland, nine people with spinal paralysis start walking again thanks to electrical stimulation in damaged areas of the spinal cord – videos


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