‘Cyborg’ spinal implant could help paralysed walk again

Jan 12, 2015

By Sarah Knapton

Paralysed patients have been given new hope of recovery after rats with severe spinal injuries walked again through a ‘groundbreaking’ new cyborg-style implant.

In technology which could have come straight out of a science fiction novel or Hollwood movie, French scientists have created a thin prosthetic ribbon, embedded with electrodes, which lies along the spinal cord and delivers electrical impulses and drugs.

The prosthetic, described by British experts as ‘quite remarkable’, is soft enough to bend with tissue surrounding the backbone to avoid discomfort.

Paralysed rats who were fitted with the implant were able to walk on their own again after just a few weeks of training.

Researchers at the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne are hoping to move to clinical trials in humans soon. They believe that a device could last 10 years in humans before needing to be replaced.

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2 comments on “‘Cyborg’ spinal implant could help paralysed walk again

  • Judging from the picture, what’s amazing is the small number of electrodes it takes to rely the message. Anyhow, news worth getting excited about -even though I’d avoid the “coooooosmic!!!” language the article uses…

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