There is always a doubt when you encounter something new or innovative. But researchers at Christopher and Daana Reeve Foundation are confident that their new epidural spine stimulation device will help restore movement for those who are paralysed. A device will be implanted and it will send electrical signals to the spine.
Earlier in 2009, a man paralysed from the chest down had a surgery to implant this device and was able to take a few steps, says a report published by researchers at the University of Louisville, US, in 2011.
Since then, three more people have received the epidural spine stimulators. They were able to successfully move their toes, ankles and knees again, says the new report that came out in April this year.
As per a www.medscape.com report, “The study seems to indicate that electrical stimulation can reprogramme damaged nerves in the spinal cord so they regain the ability to receive stimuli.” The stimulator was implanted in the abdomen. These four men who underwent the clinical trial had suffered injuries approximately two years ago.
While Superman actor Christopher Reeve suffered from paralysis, his foundation has been conducting research on this area since it was started in 1982 (though he acquired it only in 1995). Matthew Reeve, the actor’s son who was in New York to speak at Comic Con (the annual fan convention that happens worldwide) in October this year launched the Big Idea campaign. The campaign will take forward the research on epidural stimulation and raise funds. Researchers at the foundation are planning to study more participants, both men and women, from different backgrounds and work towards improving this new device. Details at www.reevebigidea.org.