spinal cord injuries, Implanted Device, Disabled People
Kelly Thomas walking with the help of a walker. Source: University of Louisville

Scientists have developed a device which can be implanted to help paralyzed and disabled people walk again, granted that the person doesn’t have a born infliction.

This device surfaced in the recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine and Nature Medicine Journal. It aims to transform the lives of disabled people especially because of a spinal cord injury.

This device will help such people sit, stand and even take a few steps which will lower their dependence on others, improve blood circulation and bone density. Kelly Thomas and Jeff Marquis are the first beneficiaries of this device as they volunteered themselves for the research done by the team of scientists in the University of Louisville.

“I was hopeless, and never dreamt of walking again. It was like watching fireworks on new year’s eve, I can’t even explain the feelings”, said Kelly.

The device, nicknamed as “Junior”, was initially developed as a pain reliever and contains sixteen electrodes while it is implanted just beneath the affected spinal cord’s vertebrae, under the skin.

spinal cord injuries, Implanted Device, Disabled People
Jeff and Kelly standing on their own with happiness on faces. Source: University of Louisville

“My doctors had told me that I will not be able to sit again, I went through many surgeries and physical therapies but nothing happened well for me and look now I am walking on my own”, Jeff exclaimed with extreme joy.

“We still don’t have a proper treatment for the people having such type of injuries. The aim was never to treat them with this device but provide assistance”, said Susan Harkema, associate director of the Kentucky Spinal Cord Injury Research Center at the University of Louisville and senior author of the New England Journal of Medicine paper.

Although the success rate of this device is minimal, it has opened new doors for the researcher now. It shows that with proper stimulus and physical therapies, physicists can help the disabled people to perform some basic chores of life themselves without any help from another human being.

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