Technology changes outlook for spinal cord injury recovery

Posted by Reeve Staff in Daily Dose on December 19, 2018 # Health, Technology, Mobility

From our Board Chairman Jack Hughes, as published in U.S. News:

For many, when you woke up this morning, you likely got out of bed without giving it another thought. You simply took the first step of the thousands you'll take in any given day. For the millions living with spinal cord injury around the world, however, getting out of bed is the first impasse of the many hurdles they face in their daily routine.

Technology changes outlook for spinal cord injury recovery

When most of us encounter someone with a spinal cord injury, our first instinct is to look away. Paralysis, from whatever cause, has always been thought to be a life sentence of confinement to a wheelchair. An injury so devastating that able-bodied individuals choose to not think about it or acknowledge it.

But what if there was a switch that could be turned on that allowed someone living with paralysis to regain control of their body? And, what if, rather than look away, we could all be in a position to help? While this may sound like science-fiction, let me assure you it's real -- today.

A gathering avalanche of new research is showing more evidence that technology holds limitless potential for helping people with spinal cord injury recover -- maybe even cure -- some of the functions lost as a result of trauma to the spinal cord. There is also overlap with many disease categories, such as stroke, Parkinson's and traumatic brain injury, as well as others in which an advance in one can be applied to others.

Three separate research papers in renowned medical journals have made international headlines recently, as they each demonstrate how epidural stimulation, a device implanted on the base of the spine, has helped individuals living with paralysis regain cardiovascular functions and movement -- with a few individuals able to take their first steps since their injury.

Read the full article here.