Paralyzed Patients Move with Spinal Stimulation

The early 19th-century was fascinated with electricity. Dr. Frankenstein used electricity to restore life to a lifeless body. Many people suffer from paralysis, the inability to move limbs or bend the torso. Research into Neuro-electric impulses and spinal stimulation seem to help some patients regain movement.

Being paralyzed is among the biggest and most disabling nightmares. For many years, if paralyzed, you were bed-ridden or immobilized in wheelchairs. Of ambulatory disorders, the inability to control legs, arms, feet, neck, and other things, paralysis was among the worst. Whether it was due from disease, traumas, or bullets, being paralyzed was often perceived as death. For decades, it was near hopeless.

In an article in Brain (April 8), a study was published that show how 4 men, paralyzed for over two years, regained movement with the aid of implanted electro-stimulators in the spine. Patients could move by use of a remote control device. The research was covered by the National Institutes of Health. Subjects were paraplegic patients who lost sensation and movement in arms and legs.

The bioengineering institute at United States’ National Institutes of Health is funding research to develop noninvasive stimulators. That way, the electrical pulses can be delivered through the skin rather than requiring surgery to implant a device.

The unique clinical research approach was developed by V. Reggie Edgerton, Ph.D., a professor at the UCLA Department of Integrative Biology and Physiology. Edgerton is notably connected with the Christopher Reeve Foundation and the Michael J. Fox foundation.

Few people realize that in virtually most ways our body is an electric powerhouse. A normal, functioning body uses transduction to convert what we eat and think about into a complex living network. All living organisms are made of individual and identifiable cells, whose number, together with their size and type, ultimately defines the structure and functions of an organism. Cells are involved in helping to preserve and create energy in our bodies. Nerves and neurons behave like cells as well. When a disease or injury forms, the normal flow of energy is blocked.

In small cases, like burning your finger when touching hot cookware, the perceived pain sets off a response through releasing a set of chemicals called endorphins that reduce perceived pain.

People who suffer major injuries that sever nerve and cellular connections block the smooth flow of transductive actions. Many things can happen when this occurs. One of these may be paralysis of a region, large or small. The electrical energy flow is blocked.

In Asia, that electrical body energy is called Chi. Chi is the internal energy that circulates through the body, according to many eastern martial arts and medical traditions. These practitioners believe when chi is blocked, either through natural causes or more nefarious means, it can stop us from being able to function physically, mentally and emotionally for a small amount of time or permanently. Through various methods, the goal is to free the flow of natural chi.

A paralyzed limb may be blocked by various means. Through an understanding of the electrical impulses the body uses, a paralyzed limb may be activated by implanting an electrical pulse generator at the core of the blocked location. In many cases, based on our limited knowledge, it is somewhat speculative. In the NIH study, it worked with those 4 paralyzed men.

Of course the unblocking and reactivation of those neuromuscular areas are only the beginning. Physical therapy and/or prosthetics may be required to possibly help restore more full functioning.

What makes this study so interesting is how those pulses work to help mobilize what was thought to be immobile, virtually lifeless. Sometimes what is not known may just require the restimulation of the blocked chi.

It takes innovative approaches to help combat and treat disorders. Some of those are seen as ancient alternative methods.

Current medical education is pushing vast numbers of doctors and medical professionals that are paralyzed when it comes to what is perceived as new approaches to medical problems. Sometimes modern and accepted traditional methods do not work for those rare cases that are beyond average.

Fortunately, there are some thinkers that explore through the dark, curvy tunnels and come up with novel approaches. Long term results may be speculative. Having a light at the tunnel’s end is a remarkable thing at the very least.

One can’t surmise that all paralyzed people may one day move again, walk and dance. This research means there is hope. The fictional Dr. Frankenstein wasn’t all that wrong. He just wasn’t ready to understand that electricity can be therapeutic to those that have life. Seeming lifeless paralyzed patients may one day move with spinal stimulation. You are the body electric.

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