Spinal Cord Stimulation, Physical Therapy Help Paralyzed Man Stand, Walk with Assistance
Spinal cord stimulation and physical therapy have helped a man paralyzed since 2013 regain his ability to stand and walk with assistance. The results, achieved in a research collaboration between Mayo Clinic and UCLA.
With an implanted stimulator turned on, the man was able to step with a front-wheeled walker while trainers provided occasional assistance. He made 113 rehabilitation visits to Mayo Clinic over a year, and achieved milestones during individual sessions:
- Total distance: 111 yards (102 meters) — about the length of a football field
- Total number of steps: 331
- Total minutes walking with assistance:16 minutes
- Step speed: 13 yards per minute (0.20 meters per second)
“What this is teaching us is that those networks of neurons below a spinal cord injury still can function after paralysis,” says Kendall Lee, M.D., Ph.D., co-principal investigator, neurosurgeon and director of Mayo Clinic’s Neural Engineering Laboratories.
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