New Implants Give Hope to Paralyzed×720.jpg?cb=9873325

Alexandro Lopez Guzman, Sports Editor

The potential that technology possesses is endless. An Italian man who was previously in a motorcycle crash that made him lose all mobility and feeling in his legs was able to walk again, thanks to an electrical implant that doctors surgically attached to his severed spine last year. This marks the first time someone with a completely severed spine has been able to walk once more. With the implant being one of many medical advancements that are helping people with paralysis regain mobility in their arms, legs, and other body parts, with its continued development by scientists, it can potentially become a major component in the medical field in due time. 

However, numerous amount of tests still remains to be performed, such as how implants can affect the surrounding muscles and more importantly the longevity of the device itself. Looking ahead, scientists plan to be able to create personalized implants to repair tissue damaged from injury, and without the risk of rejection by the body and hope for good things to come out of the further development of implants for the paralyzed. Prof Dvir said: “Our goal is to produce personalized spinal cord implants for every paralyzed person, enabling regeneration of the damaged tissue with no risk of rejection.” 

The way a spinal implant works is not as complex as one would think. For starters, nerves in the spinal cord send signals from the brain to the legs. When a spine is damaged, these signals are too weak to create movement. The spinal implant boosts the signals, enabling the patient to walk. It’s almost as if you’d be back to living your normal life without issue.

The National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center (NSCISC), reports that approximately 291,000 people are living in the United States with a spinal cord injury. Globally, the World Health Organization (WHO),  says between 250,000 and 500,000 suffer a spinal cord injury each year. Vehicle crashes are the leading cause, followed by falls, acts of violence, sports, and recreational activities, as well as medical and surgical procedures, according to the NSCISC.  People like Jessie Chin and actor Christopher Reeve, both suffered from a spinal cord injury and became important figures for people who suffer from paralysis as they attempt to kill the stereotype that people with disabilities can’t function in society.

Spinal implants are getting better at reversing paralysis | New Scientist,smart&width=1200&height=1200&upscale=true