Spinal implant helps paralysed man walk again

A man paralysed in a snowmobile accident has been able to stand and walk with help after a device was implanted near his damaged spinal cord.
Jered Chinnock, paralysed from the waist down five years ago, has become the first person to receive the electrical stimulation device.It is not a cure - he can only walk with assistance and has not regained sensation in his legs - but during one session the 29-year-old walked far enough to cover the length of a football pitch.The device sends electricity to the spinal cord and enables neurons to receive the signal being given by Mr Chinnock's brain to stand or move his legs.
Spinal implant helps paralysed man walk again

Mr Chinnock is able to stand with the help of the implant. Pic: Mayo Clinic
It was implanted in the epidural space - the outermost part of the spinal canal - below the injured area.The electrode connects to a pulse generator device under the skin of the man's abdomen and communicates wirelessly with an external controller.It was implanted after Mr Chinnock had completed 22 weeks of physical therapy in 2016.
Spinal implant helps paralysed man walk again

The implant's position is highlighted in white. Pic: Mayo Clinic
Dr Kendall Lee, from the Mayo Clinic, implanted the device."What this is teaching us is that those networks of neurons below a spinal cord injury can still function after paralysis," said Dr Lee.After the surgery, Mr Chinnock, from the US state of Wisconsin, had 113 rehabilitation sessions while he learned to stand and walk again.The first breakthrough was being able to move his toe, something he said left him feeling "in awe" and "very excited".He said: "To be able to move my legs and to walk and even to stand, it means a lot - that there's hope not only for me but other people."
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