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4 paralyzed men stand after spinal cord injury

Having a spinal cord injury often means that you are unable to walk and may not even be able to move anything but your head and neck. However, for four men, having a spinal cord injury did not keep them down.

A breakthrough in research for this type of injury has occurred that allows these four men to stand on their own without help or devices. The men were paralyzed from the chest down.

They each had electrical stimulators surgically implanted in their spinal cords. They hope that one day they may walk again. A national foundation has contributed a great amount to this research. They named it the "Bid Idea" and are continuing to try to support this endeavor with $15 million in donations.

As it stands, there are approximately 4,000 signed up as research subjects. The foundation hopes to carry this forward for at least a few dozen people in the coming months.

Other actions that these four men have been able to do are swinging their legs, lift their legs on their own and two of them are able to do sit-ups. One of the test subjects, who suffered from wildly fluctuating blood pressure, has seen that come under control. Bladder and bowel control is another added benefit.

In the past, this type of stimulant was available but it more-or-less hijacked the muscles of the legs and "told" them what to do. This is inserted directly into the spine and is controlled by the person, not the implant.

Knowing this type of opportunity is available gives so much hope for the future. Making gains in the lives of those who have been injured is the focus of this research.

Source: CNN, "How paralyzed patients are able to stand again," Elizabeth Cohen, July 24, 2015

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