Researchers at the University of Washington have managed to develop a new treatment for people who suffer from spinal cord injuries. The revolutionary new treatment can allow some spinal cord injury patients to regain hand and arm function.
The researchers were able to achieve this treatment by using a combination of physical therapy and noninvasive stimulating of nerve cells in the spinal cord. The team of researchers combined stimulation with standard physical therapy exercises, but the stimulation does not require surgery. Instead, it involves small patches that stick to a participant’s skin like a Band-Aid. These patches are placed around the injured area on the back of the neck where they deliver electrical pulses.
All participants involved in the study had been injured for at least a year and a half. Some participants couldn’t wiggle their fingers or thumbs while others had some mobility at the beginning of the study.
“At the beginning of our study, I didn’t expect such an immediate response starting from the very first stimulation session,” said lead author of the study, Dr Fatma Inanici. “As a rehabilitation physician, my experience was that there was always a limit to how much people would recover. But now it looks like that’s changing. It’s so rewarding to see these results,” Inanici added.
So far, this method has already helped six participants from the Seattle area regain some hand and arm mobility. The regained mobility lasted at least three to six months after treatment had ended.
Take a look at how the new treatment was able to help the participants below:
Take a look at a full breakdown of the treatment by clicking here.
Picture: UW News