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Significant SCI Research Breakthrough
Doctors and researchers have achieved encouraging results in restoring movement and sensory feeling to SCI victims. Using electrical stimulation and intensive physical therapy, a team of scientists from the University of Louisville, UCLA and CalTech have given hope to the millions of SCI victims worldwide. This type of research can have profound results for the SCI community in helping sufferers regain some of what they’ve lost. Supporting organizations like SCIS is a direct and effective way to advance these gains.
Rob Summers, 25, suffered a complete C7/T1 injury in 2006 and although he retained some feeling below the injury site, he lost all control over movement. He volunteered for a study investigating locomotion therapy and electrical stimulation that had previously only been show to restore function in animals. He dedicated himself to 26 months of rigorous physical therapy, strapping himself in a treadmill with a harness and to simulate an assisted walking motion. Summers then underwent surgery to implant 16 electrodes along his spinal cord. Since the surgery, Summers has been able to stand up on his own using hand supports. He can remain standing, bearing his own weight for up to four minutes at a stretch, and take steps on a treadmill with assistance. Watch the extraordinary process:
Summers walking again
“This procedure has completely changed my life,” said Mr. Summers. “For someone who for four years was unable to even move a toe, to have the freedom and ability to stand on my own is the most amazing feeling. To be able to pick up my foot and step down again was unbelievable, but beyond all of that my sense of well-being has changed. My physique and muscle tone have improved greatly, so much that most people don't even believe I am paralyzed. I believe that epidural stimulation will get me out of this chair." Summers is also able to voluntarily move his hips, ankles and toes, has gotten back some bladder and sexual function.
SCIS funds medical research and clinical trials like epidermal stimulation and rehabilitation therapies to restore function in chronic sufferers. For more information on the SCIS research initiatives, click here.
The electrode stimulation research was supported by the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation and the National Institutes of Health. SCIS volunteers and members have supported the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation. See the full Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation article: click here