New spinal implant will help people with paraplegia to exercise paralyzed limbs

Via ScienceBlog:

Engineers have developed a new type of microchip muscle stimulator implant that will enable people with paraplegia to exercise their paralysed leg muscles.
It is the first time that researchers have developed a device of this kind that is small enough to be implanted into the spinal canal and incorporates the electrodes and muscle stimulator in one unit. The implant is the size of a child’s fingernail.
The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) project is being led by Professor Andreas Demosthenous from University College London. It includes engineers from Freiburg University and the Tyndall Institute in Cork.
“The work has the potential to stimulate more muscle groups than is currently possible with existing technology because a number of these devices can be implanted into the spinal canal”, said Professor Andreas Demosthenous. “Stimulation of more muscle groups means users can perform enough movement to carry out controlled exercise such as cycling or rowing.”
The devices could also be used for a wide range of restorative functions such as stimulating bladder muscles to help overcome incontinence and stimulating nerves to improve bowel capacity and suppress spasms.

Lees verder op ScienceBlog.
Press release op Engineering and Physical Science Research Council (EPSRC)