Good news keeps coming out of the Reeve Foundation and today, two new research projects were published and unveiled that heralded the use of epidural stimulation to enable chronic complete injury subjects to walk, some with minimal assistance and others with none.
Dr. Reggie Edgerton, along with researchers from the Mayo Clinic and UCLA, unveiled their research study, which showed through the application of epidural stimulation in combination with task-specific training, a young man living with chronic complete paraplegia recovered the ability to step over ground while using a front-wheeled walker with trainers providing only sporadic assistance. Additionally, he was able to take bilateral steps on a treadmill.
Separately, Dr. Susan Harkema and the University of Louisville published their research in the New England Journal of Medicine which details how epidural stimulation can foster greater brain-to-spine connectivity in individuals with chronic complete paralysis. As a result of that connection, two of the four research participants featured in the paper are able to walk over ground with a walker and no physical assistance. In addition, all four participants achieved independent standing and trunk stability while maintaining their mental focus, which is defined as purposefully wanting to pick up their foot or leg to take steps.