Sydney, Australia (AHN) – The creator of the bionic ear is working on an idea involving a spinal cord implant that would be a lifesavior for paraplegics by helping them walk again. The implant is based on a similar principle that allowed the bionic ear to help thousands of people to hear again.
A team of scienetists at the Australian Research Council’s Center are using “smart plastics” in creating an implant that can be surgically inserted into the damaged area of a patient’s spinal cord.
Upon implantation, the patient will receive the radio waves through the skin from a transmitter pack worn outside the body on their back. The waves would allow the release of nerve growth hormones that would trigger off the growth of damaged Spinal nerves to regrow and eventually reconnect with other nerves.
ANI quotes Professor Graeme Clark, 71, as saying, “The ultimate goal is to get people to walk, to feel and to function properly.” He also claims that patients should begin to feel their legs and walk again upon reattachment of the nerves.
Paraplegia is a condition in which the lower part of a person’s body is paralyzed and cannot willfully function. It is usually the result of spinal cord injury or a congenital condition such as spina bifida, but polyneuropathy may also result in paraplegia.
Though tested on animals, the findings are yet to be tested on humans. The scientists claim that the implant would be ready in next five years but they are currently focusing on the ways to encourage nerves to grow far enough along the nerve pathways to reconnect.
“With the bionic ear, 99 percent of the world’s scientists said it wouldn’t work and I was severely criticised. There’s now more of a sense of optimism with the spinal cord project, but the problems are just as complex,” Clark added.
Nidhi Sharma – All Headline News Staff Writer