Paralyzed rats with transected spinal cord learn to walk




We have seen different exoskeletons , which with the help of an external force put on the legs of paralyzed patients. Swiss scientists, in turn, offered a solution which, instead of using cumbersome wearable design relies on the stimulation of the internal forces of the body.

The new device has been tested in rats with completely paralyzed hind limbs as a result of spinal cord injury – their brain was cut in the middle. The study was conducted in the framework of the project NEUWalk by specialists from the Federal Polytechnic School of Lausanne (Switzerland).

Researchers operate in that for the human body requires an electric current. The brain makes the body move, sending him to the electric signals through the spinal cord and nervous system. If the spinal cord is damaged, the signals may not reach the final. The higher the degree of damage, the greater the paralyzed parts of the body.

Scientists have discovered that by signaling through flexible electrodes implanted in the part of the brain below the cut can be made to move a limb. However, it is not enough that the rat got to his feet and went. To provide natural movement of the limbs researchers took adapt the parameters of the electric current to the nervous system. Gait rodent depended on the frequency of transmitted pulses. Picking up the necessary parameters, the researchers were able to teach the rat to walk even gait and even overcome obstacles, such as climbing stairs, writes CNET.

It is reported that human clinical trials could begin in the summer of 2015. Scientists plan to test the device on patients with partial spinal cord injury. They put on a suit and put the supports on the treadmill. All movements of the patient will be monitored cameras.

Simple scientific discoveries of the nervous system can help develop more effective neyroprotezy. We believe that one day this technology will significantly improve the quality of life for people with neurological disorders, – said study co-author, neuroscientist Silvestro Misera.

But the new soft exoskeleton, which is sponsoring the development of DARPA, are intended for use by healthy people for military purposes. More information about them is written here .


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