From Medical Xpress:
A Vanderbilt neurosurgeon is looking to recruit patients with paraplegia to investigate whether intraspinal microstimulation technology can restore complex body movements.
The implantation of tiny electrodes along the spinal cord has caused paralyzed animals to walk, but it has yet to be tested with humans. Peter Konrad, M.D., Ph.D., and his research team are seeking volunteers willing to participate in a proof of concept experiment.
The study requirements are very specific. The participants must be undergoing a previously scheduled spinal surgery for a reason other than the experiment. And they should have a completely severed spinal cord between the thoracic 3 and thoracic 8 vertebrae without further damage below that point.
“I want absolutely no question that we are creating the movement and that there is no accidental circuitry input,” Konrad said.
Konrad is looking to do the proof of concept experiment with two patients before seeking to expand the study. Joseph Cheng, M.D., director of the Neurosurgery Spine Program, is overseeing the data safety and monitoring of the study.
“This is such a landmark study, and one which has the potential to help paralyzed people walk again,” Cheng said. “Even at this early stage, I feel the concept of intraspinal microstimulation has shown the best promise at this time for our patients who suffer from paraplegia. I think whoever volunteers for this study will be leading the way for those suffering with paraplegia, and who really have no other options for treatment.”
However, with this initial proof of…