The inability to maintain blood pressure is a debilitating consequence of spinal cord injury. This problem has now been circumvented, by artificially recreating a reflex essential for blood-pressure stability.
Paralysis and sensory deficits are the most obvious consequences of spinal cord injury (SCI). But many people also experience orthostatic hypotension — an inability to maintain blood pressure when moving from lying to sitting or standing. In the short term, the condition can prevent normal filling of the heart with blood, and can cause light-headedness and dizziness.
A tetraplegic is one who has suffered partial or total loss of use of all four limbs and torso.
Each year, it is estimated that 250,000 to 500,000 people worldwide suffer a spinal cord injury, and that 59 percent of those living with the injury are tetraplegic—experiencing the total loss of use of all four limbs and torso. Innovative research from Clinatec and the Université Grenoble Alpes (UGA) has resulted in a first for a tetraplegic patient. Using a four-limb exoskeleton controlled by a neuroprosthetic, he was able to walk and use his arms.
With funding from the Department of Defense, research facilities in Ohio and New Jersey will conduct a multi-site study of transcranial stimulation for recovery of upper limb function in individuals with chronic spinal cord injury
East Hanover, NJ. August 26, 2019. Kessler Foundation is one of three sites participating in a study of noninvasive brain stimulation to improve upper limb function
In a hospital in Switzerland, permanently paralyzed people are now learning to walk again with the help of stimulating electrodes implanted in their spines. For Grégoire Courtine, professor of neuroprosthetics at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne (EPFL), this day has been a long time coming. “It took us 15 years to get from paralyzed rats to the first steps in humans,” he says. “Maybe in 10 more years, our technology will be ready for the clinic.”
Courtine has made it his mission to reverse paralysis. He started 15 years ago with those paralyzed rats, putting tiny electrical implants into their spines to stimulate nerve fibers below the site of their spinal cord injuries.
For those whose arms as well as legs are paralyzed by spinal cord injury, no skill is more broadly useful to regain than the ability to grasp and move objects. Researchers reporting in Nature magazine this week say they have devised a new way to get a patient’s hand to grasp a greater range of objects: by playing recorded brain commands directly to muscle.
For the paralyzed, the technique could provide brain signals a way around the broken spinal cord and allow hand movements more finely tuned to different tasks.