Implant with pimples allows paraplegic patients to walk


A new device with electrical impulses, which is still studying, has shown the possibility of repairing damaged nerves

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November 5, 2018, 18h37 – Published on November 5, 2018, 18h32

Three people with paraplegia could walk again with an implant that stimulates heart rate with electric waves, an article published in a magazine Nature. Researchers at the University of Lausanne, Switzerland have shown that the mechanism has enabled patients to walk with strollers and peers; sometimes they also succeeded in some unsuccessful steps.

Spoons with pimples stop communicating through the nervous system, leading to the loss of neurological functions and paralysis. Usually nerves heart send brain signals to your feet; but in the case of paraplegic individuals, the signal is usually too weak to create motion. In order to avoid this communication error, the implant potentiates a brain signal that allows the activation of leg muscles. "This small device is a pulse generator that activates the electrode that is located [implantado] in the spinal cord, "explained Jocelyne Bloch, one of the authors of the study, CBS News.

In addition, according to Gregoire Courtine, a scientist who developed the technique, implant shows signs of repairing damaged nerves. "The nerve fibers are rising again. They reconnect the bones with bones," he said CBS News. Because of this unexpected result, the team is convinced that the paralysis can turn to some extent, although it still needs to be determined to what extent.

One of the patients who feel the effects of the device is David Mzee, whose paraplegia lasted seven years. He is the one who controls the stimulation – what happens remotely through the clock. Once activated, Mzee can walk about 800 meters using a walker or support sticks.

Therapy STIMO

New treatment Stimulus Movement (STIMO) is to implant a series of electrodes targeting certain muscle groups. These electrodes emulate signals that the brain would have nervous system create a movement. The team took the development of the technique two key factors: the accuracy of the direction of the stimulus and the time of the pulses.

These two conditions are usually determined to avoid proprioceptionwhich is the ability to detect the position and movement of the body by processing signals from the body itself. "The exact time and place of electrical stimulation is crucial for the patient's ability to produce the predicted movement," he said. Jocelyne Health news today.

According to researchers, patients had to follow both principles Learn to walk with stimulatory impulses. This "calibration" was carried out during the first week; From there they began to walk with braces, such as strollers and crutches. "All patients were able to walk in one week with the help of body weight. I immediately knew that we were on the right track, "commented Jocelyne.

Unexpected results

In five months, three men have already shown an improvement in voluntary muscle control, indicating that the nervous system not only reacts to treatment, but also develops plasticity and reorganises nerve fibers. This led to an improvement in the ability to move even in the absence of stimulation. The study also showed that patients did not have tiredness in the leg muscles and walked without hands for more than a kilometer during rehabilitation sessions.

Now researchers hope that these discoveries will turn into personal treatments. They also develop another method that can be used soon after the injury, when there is a greater likelihood of recovery after the affected tissue does not begin to die.

Other techniques

Another study of the genre, released in September New England Journal of Medicine, introduced a similar device. This technique, called epidural stimulation, examines the possible active signals in the brain that cross the damaged region. The device, which was originally developed as a pain control tool, is inserted below the lesion area covering areas that send sensitive signals to the legs. Frequency, intensity and duration of electrical stimuli are produced by a wireless battery inserted into the abdominal wall.

Secondly Claudia Angeli, one of the researchers in an American study, when the device starts to work in the body, produced electrical stimulation can increase the spinal cord excitement, making it more alert. "As if it's more conscious. The fact is that the bone marrow can" hear "this small" whispering "of the brain that is still there and can create motor patterns," he told the British newspaper Guardian. She further emphasized thisFor complete work, it is necessary to link the movements with the signals emitted by the device, so the participants are doing locomotor training.

Other searches to restore spinal cord damage using special cells taken from the patient's nose as well nerve fibers to repair the site of the lesion. "We are not just looking for a natural or biological medication for paralysis, but for permanent treatment," said Mike Milner, Executive Director of the Nicholls Spinal Injury Foundation Guardian.

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