Paralyzed patients walk, swim and cycle with spinal cord neuromodulation implant

The spinal cord stimulating electrodes are implanted directly on the spinal cord, below the vertebrae. [Image courtesy of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne]

The latest iteration of a spinal cord stimulation implant has allowed three paralyzed patients to take steps independently on a treadmill within a day of their device’s activation, and to stand, walk, swim and even pedal a bicycle after five months of rehab.

In 2018, the technology helped a patient get out of his wheelchair and walk after being paralyzed by a partial spinal cord injury, but the latest results helped three men with complete spinal cord injuries walk again beyond the walls of the lab.

“Our stimulation algorithms are still based on imitating nature,” system co-developer Grégoire Courtine, a professor at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne, said today in a news release. “And our new, soft impla…

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