Vancouver, British Columbia Canada (PressExposure) December 22, 2011 -- Recent breakthroughs in spine injury treatment have enabled Rob Summers, a paralyzed man, to get back on his feet. Using a new device, physical therapy, and a lot of determination, he has learned to stand again and he is on his way to walking.
The device that gives Summers his mobility back is a small electric implant that sends regular currents through 16 different electrodes attached to his spine. The electrical stimulation has allowed Summers' spine neurons to receive and react to the information that his legs are telling his brain. At first these results were not visible at all. In fact, Summers commented in a news teleconference that he had gone years without seeing any improvement or increased mobility. Now that he is standing from his wheelchair when he wants to, doctors specializing in spinal cord injuries are excited that there are new treatment opportunities for people suffering from paralysis. Scientists are continuing to pursue additional treatments using electricity and smaller devices. Summers' breakthrough is the result of over 30 years of research on animals. Summers was the first of five patients implanted with the electric device. Although it was originally designed for pain relief, it has proven to do much more than that. This new breakthrough is destined to change the face of spinal cord injury research and in the coming years.
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