Courtesy of Dr. Grégoire Courtine/EPLF
Researchers recently completed a scientific trial that enabled paralysed rats to run again.Through a combination of chemical, electrical, and physical stimulation, they found that the paralysed rats who underwent treatment could walk again — some could even run.
This could have incredible implications for paralysed humans, but much more research is needed before these techniques can be tested in humans.
Here is a breakdown of the step-by-step process these scientists used to reactivate parts of the spinal cords and get these rats walking again.
First the researchers inject a cocktail of chemicals designed to mimic the body's signals that coordinate lower body movement.
Five to 10 minutes later electrical impulses are sent to tiny electrodes between the bones of the spine and the nerves of the spinal cord.
Then the rats are strapped into a machine that provides support against gravity and holds them upright, but doesn't push them forward.
The rats slowly learn to walk, in the safest possible environment, and eventually are able to run and climb stairs again, with the verbal encouragement of the scientists.
These treatments promise game-changing possibilities for healing human spinal cord injuries, and possibly even paralysis.
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