Spinal implant helps three paralysed men walk again

Three paralysed men, who were told they would spend the rest of their lives in a wheelchair
Three paralysed men, who were told they would spend the rest of their lives in a wheelchair, are able to walk again thanks to doctors in Switzerland. An electrical device inserted around the men’s spines boosted signals from their brains to their legs. And it also helped damaged nerves in the spinal cord to regrow. The researchers hope that this unexpected bonus will enable some paralysed people ultimately to regain independent movement. BBC News has had exclusive access to the patients in the clinical trial, the results of which are published in the journal Nature. The first patient to be treated was 30-year-old Swiss man David M’zee, who suffered a severe spinal injury seven years ago in a sporting accident. David’s doctor said he would never walk again. However, thanks to an electrical implant developed by a team at École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), he can walk more than half a mile with the implant turned on.
I strolled with him on a cloudless sunny day in the foothills of the Alps overlooking Lake Geneva, he told me how the ability to walk, albeit for short periods under controlled conditions, had changed his life. “To me it means a lot. I’m surprised at what we have been able to do. I think you’ve got to try the impossible to make the possible possible. It’s a lot of fun – it feels really good,” he said. David comes across as an overwhelmingly positive person, but after his injury he had some dark moments.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *