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Spinal cord injury patients may benefit from electrical pulses

Being able to walk and move about may be a dream for those who have suffered spinal cord injuries. New technology called neural prosthetics can now immediately trigger a spinal cord injury in the legs of a patient to engage in natural movements. Research dealing with the new technology may result in robot-assisted rehabilitation that can help those with partial spinal cord damage to walk once again in West Virginia and elsewhere.

Spinal cord injury can damage the connections between an individual's brain and legs, thus leading to paralysis. However, electrical stimulation just may help patients to overcome these types of injuries. As part of recent research, scientists decided to send electrical signals to paralyzed rats' spinal cords. These signals mimicked the brain signals that weren't able to reach the rats' limbs.

Four paraplegics recently benefited from epidural electrical stimulation, or EES. The stimulation allowed them to move their toes, ankles and hips. The challenge with the EES, though, is that scientists had to manually alter the frequency, duration and strength of the electrical pulses. Fortunately, scientists have now developed a system of EES that adjusts these electrical pulses automatically.

Car accidents are a chief cause of spinal cord injury in West Virginia and other jurisdictions. Sometimes, these accidents occur because someone else on the road was careless, such as driving while distracted or speeding. In this case, the injured party may opt to file a personal injury lawsuit against the allegedly negligent party, seeking monetary damages that can help with his or her medical costs and other losses tied to the wreck. 

Source:, "Prosthetics Are Telling Paralyzed Legs How to Walk Again", Charles Q. Choi, Sept. 24, 2014

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