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Paralysed patients get to walk again thanks to pioneering surgery

Written by: Lengwadishang Ramphele

Paralysed patients who were told they will never be able to walk again have renewed hope, thanks to the Neuroprosthetics and Brain Mind Institute at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL).

Fabien Wagner, a postdoctoral associate at the EPFL explained the breakthrough for paralysed patients and how it works.

He says patients get a remote-controlled electrode implanted in their back to stimulate surviving nerves in the spinal cord, which is the part that controls leg movement.

One of the main features of the stimulator, designed specifically for the study, it has realtime wireless capabilities.

Fabien Wagner, a postdoctoral associate at the EPFL

We place the antenna at the abdomen of the patient and there's a small external module that communicates through a computer and the computer sends real-time commands to the stimulator.

Fabien Wagner, a postdoctoral associate at the EPFL

The engineers and the scientists can program the computer during the walking to say let's facilitate left knee reflection, or let's facilitate right knee extension. So we can promote specific movements for the left and right leg for specif muscle groups.

Fabien Wagner, a postdoctoral associate at the EPFL

Wagner says the long-term goal is to get the patients to be able to walk in the same kind of movement they had before the accident.

To know more about this fascinating breakthrough click here


This article first appeared on CapeTalk : Paralysed patients get to walk again thanks to pioneering surgery




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