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Thread: Paralysed patients regain voluntary movement with spinal stimulation

  1. #1

    Paralysed patients regain voluntary movement with spinal stimulation

    Hello everyone! (My first post)

    A lot of news sites are buzzing (pun certainly intended) with an apparent "breakthrough" in SCI therapy, using electrical spinal cord stimulation. I know it's been done in the past, but this time with four patients. Here's a link to one of many news sites - some more detailed than others:

    http://uk.reuters.com/article/2014/0...A3707J20140408

    As promising as this is, it is unclear from the articles if the patients regained core functionality such as bladder, bowels and sexual function. Although they can voluntary move some muscle(s), (when the device is turned on) does the device also impact on sensation?

    There's also a video on the BBC site, so check it out in action. Either way, it's still very new, and years away from being effective, as well as marketed. I've closely been following Mr Wise Young here since my motorcycle accident in April 2013. We are all thankful for his contribution in SCI research, and eagerly await Phase III. Hope we're still aiming for Q3 this year, and funding could be sorted by then?

    Regards,
    TM

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    Love this!!! Sign me up! Not a cure but just moving again would mean so much

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    http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/n...lysis/7420027/

    Here it states that bowel and bladder function is recovered. Want to know more!!!!
    T6 complete (or so I think), SCI since September 21, 2003

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    I just saw this on NBC news. I hope this turns out to be as good as it appears. And bowel, bladder function, and sexual functioning too! On the downside, I am assuming this only works with incompletes.
    You will find a guide to preserving shoulder function @
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    The complete article from today's online edition of the Neurology journal Brain.


    http://brain.oxfordjournals.org/cont...in.awu038.full

  9. #9
    Senior Member rdf's Avatar
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    I believe it worked on patients both motor and sensory complete from what I've read.

    Quote Originally Posted by SCIfor55yrs. View Post
    I just saw this on NBC news. I hope this turns out to be as good as it appears. And bowel, bladder function, and sexual functioning too! On the downside, I am assuming this only works with incompletes.
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  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by rdf View Post
    I believe it worked on patients both motor and sensory complete from what I've read.
    The article posted by 2drwhofans states that the 4 patients were classified as motor complete and were all more than 2 years post-injury. In addition the article states that:

    [QUOTE]....we previously reported the return of control of movement in one individual with motor complete, but sensory incomplete spinal cord injury >2 years after complete paralysis after 7 months of intense stand training using epidural stimulation (Harkema et al., 2011a). These unexpected results led us to theorize that the residual sensory pathways were critical in mediating the voluntary movements elicited with epidural stimulation and specific intent by the individual. The intense stand training and repetitive stimulation may have driven neural plasticity that eventually resulted in the ability to voluntarily move the legs./QUOTE]

    The results obtained in the recent trials also appear to be due to neural plasticity but this should not detract from the excitement that statements like this generate:

    [QUOTE][ In three of four individuals, we observed the recovery of voluntary movement with epidural stimulation soon after implantation, two of whom had complete loss of both motor and sensory function (Supplementary Videos 1–3). This shows that by neuromodulating the spinal circuitry at sub-threshold motor levels with epidural stimulation, chronically complete paralysed individuals can process conceptual, auditory, and visual input to regain specific voluntary control of paralysed muscles. We have uncovered a fundamentally new intervention strategy that can dramatically affect recovery of voluntary movement in individuals with complete paralysis even years after injury/QUOTE]

    The current results suggest that a significant number of chronics diagnosed as complete may not be as complete as was previously thought:

    The results in the three individuals who were tested after implantation, but before repetitive training, suggests that descending connections to the spinal cord circuitry may have existed since the time of injury.
    The exact mechanism of the functional return demonstrated is still under speculation but whatever the mechanism, doesn't this suggest that if this treatment were combined with any kind of regenerative therapy it would increase the functional return gained through any limited regeneration that was achieved?

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