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Paraplegic man can stand after epidural stimulation of spinal cord

BMJ 2011; 342 doi: (Published 23 May 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;342:d3254
  1. Susan Mayor
  1. 1London

A young man with paraplegia is able to stand for several minutes and take steps using voluntary movements in response to direct electrical stimulation of the lumbosacral spinal cord, a US research group has reported.

The 23 year old had paraplegia from a C7-T1 subluxation as a result of being hit by a motor vehicle in July 2006. He showed complete loss of clinically detectable, voluntary motor function but partial preservation of sensation below the T1 cord segment.

Three years after the incident he began locomotor training sessions designed to retrain spinal cord networks to coordinate the movements necessary for standing and walking.

After 170 training sessions over 26 months, a 16 electrode array was surgically placed on the patient’s dura mater across cord segments L1-S1, and spinal cord stimulation was provided during further training sessions for periods of up to four hours. The patterns of stimulation were designed …

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