Big strides have been taken to help regain movement in the legs of paralyzed individuals through the use of spinal cord electrodes. Essentially, these electrodes send electric stimulation down the spine of the patients, creating artificial circuits between it and the brain. This allows the patient to send voluntary commands to his or her legs, which is an exciting development.
Currently four men have received implants of the spinal cord electrodes. Using 16 in total has allowed them to flex their main joints including knees and ankles. One of the participants is even able to stand for short periods at a time. Dr. Roderic Pettigrew, director of the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering at the U.S. National Institutes of Health, says, "This is a substantial milestone that has been reached."
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