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Epidural Stimulation Study Sees Amazing Results for Paralyzed People

It's hard not to get excited about epidural stimulation with all the positive research results being released from dozens of labs worldwide, and a recent study released by the ongoing E-STAND trial and the University of Minnesota only makes us more excited. In this recent study, they were able to prove that epidural stimulation also works on people who have been injured for several years.

Up until now, newly-injured patients were often used, or at least people in their 20s. Researchers decided to choose two women in their 50s and 60s and 5 to 10 years post injury for the study, in the hopes that they could expand the population that epidural stimulation hypothetically could be used on. Both women had a spinal cord stimulator implanted near their injury site, which can then be turned on and off with a remote.

Thankfully it was a massive success. Both participants in the study saw immediate results in functional movement and automatic functions, such as bladder and bowel control and sexual function. Now several months post-injury, both patients can now move their legs, albeit minimally, but they can do so by their own volition, which is a huge change from before. They are both ASIA A injuries, which means they had no movement or sensation below their level of injury before the trial.

Needless to say, the surgeons involved in the trial are extremely excited.

“Enabling someone to move her legs more than 10 years after being paralyzed from spinal cord injury has been one of the greatest moments of my career," said Uzma Samadani, MD, PhD, Associate Professor in the Department of Neurosurgery University of Minnesota Medical School and Neurosurgeon with Hennepin Healthcare.”

Considering that people with long-term paralysis have never been given any kind of hope until now, this is a huge, historical event. In fact, we are confused as to why more news outlets aren't covering this. We realize the world is a bit crazy these days, but people with paralysis are literally moving again and seeing abilities return that doctors never thought could happen. Miracles are at work.

The good news is that you can follow the study closely. The researchers are very transparent. There is an active blog updating the world on the trial’s latest activities, appearances in the news, as well as videos directly from participants in the study sharing updates of their improved abilities. For example, if you visit Dr. David Darrow’s YouTube channel, one of the trial’s leads, you can watch a video of a participant moving their leg with the help of a skateboard attached underneath:

The next obvious question is: when will this be available to the public? Unfortunately the researchers in the study caution the public to be patient, as there is no timeline yet as to when this will be available to the over 290,000 people in the United States living with a spinal cord injury. Hopefully, because of these overwhelmingly positive results, they will get it pushed through quickly once requested to do so by the FDA.

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Topics: Technology & Advancements, Research, Paralysis

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