Spinal cord injuries can severely reduce a person’s range of motion or lead to complete leg paralysis. Recently, researchers describe implanting electrical stimulators into the damaged spinal cords of three men who all had partial or complete lower-leg paralysis. The stimulators then delivered targeted electric pulses in time with the patients’ walking gait.
The patients wore a series of sensors on their legs and feet that wirelessly communicated to the stimulators as they began to walk. Within a week, the men were able to leave the treadmill and walk on the ground with continued electrical stimulation. After a few months, they regained the ability to walk without any electrical stimulation at all.