In another major clinical breakthrough of the Walk Again Project, a nonprofit international consortium aimed at developing new neurorehabilitation protocols, technologies, and therapies for spinal cord injury, two patients with paraplegia regained the ability to walk with minimal assistance, via a fully non-invasive brain-machine interface that does not require the use of any invasive spinal cord surgical procedure. The results of this study appeared in the May 1 issue of Scientific Reports.
Now, before you get too excited about this news, it’s important to note that this work involved only two paraplegics who were classified as ASIA C. A video footage demonstrating the actual walking of one of the subjects might leave you disappointed but realize that this technology is at its early stages and they have a ton of work to do. According to one of the study’s authors, "there is no silver bullet to treat spinal cord injuries. More and more, it looks like we need to implement multiple techniques simultaneously to achieve the best neurorehabilitation results. In this context, it is also imperative to consider the occurrence of cortical plasticity as a major component in the planning of our rehabilitation approach."
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