An implantable simulator was thought to have a necessary for the clinical potential for electrically triggering legs to move in paralyzed patients.
According to a new study from UCLA, five completely paralyzed men were able to perform walking movements with their legs, albeit lying down, thanks to transcutaneousástimulators.
The devices were placed close to the spinal cord near the lower back of the patients. The patients underwent weekly sessions for about four months to examine how they respond to the therapy.
The patients moved their legs when strong electrical signals were delivered, but this motion was essentially involuntary. Still, they managed to get their legs to move further apart during each step, when they tried to help the neurostimulators.
After a few weeks, the motion became more voluntary and the patients were able to swing their legs considerably further and precisely when they wanted to. Toward the end of the study, the patients were able to move their legs on their own without the neurostimulators doing anything at all.