Possible Cure for Paralyzed Humans?
Swiss scientists successfully got paralyzed rats to walk again in a breakthrough experiment.
A team at the University of Zurich and the technical university EPFL in Switzerland, used 27 lab rats, severing their spines so that their hind legs were paralyzed.
Seventeen of the rats were provided physical rehabilitation, while the other 10 were left alone as a control group.
As part of the training, the 17 rats were injected with a chemical that triggered cell responses. Then, the researchers used electrodes implanted in the spinal canal of each rat to electrically stimulate the spinal cord.
The rats were placed in a harness to keep them upright while they worked their reflexes on a treadmill. After three weeks, the harnessed rats were placed on a runway. Eventually, a piece of chocolate was kept at the end of the course to further encourage the rats to become mobile.
And it worked!
The rats not only started walking again, but running, sprinting and avoiding obstacles.
Lead research author Gregoire Courtine said in a statement:
“This is the World Cup of neurorehabilitation,. Our rats have become athletes when just weeks before they were completely paralyzed. I am talking about 100% recuperation of voluntary movement. Not only voluntarily initiating a walking gait, but they are soon sprinting, climbing up stairs and avoiding obstacles when stimulated.”
It is not known if this procedure would work on humans yet, but it is an amazing work in progress. Researches say that the human clinical trials could begin in Zurich within the next 2 years.
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