By Emily Willingham
THURSDAY, Sept. 24, 2015 (HealthDay News) — A paralyzed 26-year-old man has walked for the first time in five years, thanks to an electrical system that connects his brain and legs, bypassing his injured spine, researchers are reporting.
The unidentified man is the first person to show that a system like this might help people with a spinal cord injury regain some ability to walk, the researchers said.
“The work does offer exciting promise,” said Randy Trumbower, an assistant professor in the department of rehabilitation medicine at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, who was not involved with the research. That said, it “must overcome several hurdles before it may be applicable to a broad population of persons with spinal cord injury,” he added.
Study authors An Do and Zoran Nenadic, both at the University of California, Irvine, said they don’t yet know how the system will work in a larger population of people with paralysis. Their report on the trial with the one candidate was published Sept. 23 in the Journal of Neuroengineering and Rehabilitation.