Jamani Caillet/École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne

Three paralyzed people walk after nerve stimulation

Three men paralyzed by spinal cord injury can now walk with the support of crutches or a walker thanks to an experimental nerve stimulation therapy, Science News reports. The new results are the latest in a string of successes for a rehabilitation approach that electrically stimulates neurons in the spinal cord to reestablish the communication between the legs and the brain. The implanted device was developed to treat pain, but when combined with 5 months of intensive physical therapy, it restored movement years after a paralyzing injury, researchers reported yesterday in Nature. Independent groups reported similar gains in patients with more extensive nerve damage in two papers published in September in The New England Journal of Medicine and Nature Medicine.

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