For the first time, engineers have enabled paralysed people to stand up and balance for significant periods without holding an external support. This is an important breakthrough in helping individuals with spinal cord injuries to start standing again for useful lengths of time – up to seven minutes have been achieved in experiments.
The cutting-edge research project that achieved this advance was carried out by the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Glasgow with funding from the Swindon based Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council
The project focused on the development and evaluation of techniques that use low levels of pulsed electrical current to stimulate the nerves that control muscle movement. The current replaces signals from the brain, which do not reach the nerves on account of the spinal cord injury. This electrical stimulation makes the paralysed muscle contract and partially restores lost body functions.
Jane Reck | EurekAlert!
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