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Potential clinical therapies for paralysis

 

Narrator:       This is Science Today. A significant breakthrough has been reported for individuals with very severe spinal cord injury. V. Reggie Edgerton of UCLA was one of the leading neuroscientists on an 11-member team looking into potential clinical therapies for paralysis.

Edgerton:      We found a new avenue to apply to individuals with very severe spinal cord injury that will help them to improve their motor function and be able to improve, perhaps, their voluntary control based on our initial results.

Narrator:       Edgerton explains that they're using epidural stimulation to increase the excitability of the spinal cord's neural network, which is actually very ‘smart' and can learn to change or relearn motor tasks.

Edgerton:      What's really different here is we're not actually stimulating at an intensity that will induce the movement, we're just modulating the activity level of the background activity of this network, and then using the sensory information from the leg, we've been able to achieve a level of function that has not been demonstrated before.

Narrator:       For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.