Medicine seems to be on a constant path of evolution, at least in some areas that now benefit from serious improvements. Millions of paralysis sufferers could make their lives better with the help of a spinal implant. Researchers have performed extensive sets of tests and saw immense results arriving as time passed by.
A spinal implant can cure paraplegics. This is a new technique pioneered by British doctors that have already allowed a man with a severed spinal cord to recover his walking capacities. With the help of recent technology, a thin and flexible implant can be applied on the surface of the spinal cord, to administer electrical and chemical stimulation. And it does work, as results can now speak and walk for themselves.
The soft living tissue is now replicated with a special implant called e-Dura, made from a silicon substrate embedded with electrodes. This is the process by which body movement is recovered with the help of modern medicine.
A wheelchair bound firefighter has benefited from the new implant and recovered the ability to control his legs. However, applying the surface implants in humans also comes with a series of side effects. If they are applied directly to the spinal cord, movement or stretching nerve tissues cause the implant to rub. Repeated friction usually leads to inflammation, scar tissue and in the last phases, rejection of the implant.
The research supports improvement but however the effects it has shown up to the present moment are remarkable. The researchers showed back in 2012 how electrical and chemical stimulation can restore lower body movement in rats with spinal cord injuries. Consequently, the rat’s mindset and regenerative capacity are awakened with a special treatment of chemicals, aimed to stimulate the lost capacities.
Furthermore, scientists found back in 2012 that a stimulated rat spinal column that is isolated from the brain can commit to the task of modulating leg movement. This allows paralyzed rats to walk.
The procedure was then adapted to human beings that will have the chance to use their freedom of movement with fewer restraints. The new dura matter, that can alleviate the side effects of the implant, will allow bending and deformation similar to the living tissue surrounding it. In rats, this caused neither damage nor rejection, after two months under continuous observation. Hopefully it will work on human beings as well, with no constraints.
Image Source: telegraph.co.uk