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A Man with Parkinson's Regained the Ability to Walk, Thanks to a Spinal Implant


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The implant works works by sending bursts of electrical signals to stimulate the nerves in Marc's spinal cord, which then activate his leg muscles.

Marc, a 62-year-old patient, is the first and only person to have received the new spinal neuroprosthesis, a small device containing electrodes placed under the skin on top of his spinal cord.

Credit: CHUV

A man with Parkinson's disease has regained the ability to walk after physicians implanted a small device into his spinal cord that sends signals to his legs. 

"I can now walk with much more confidence and my daily life has profoundly improved," said the patient, a 62-year-old named Marc, during a press conference. 

Marc is the first and only person to have received the new spinal neuroprosthesis, a small device containing electrodes placed under the skin on top of his spinal cord. It works by sending bursts of electrical signals to stimulate the nerves in his spinal cord, which then activate his leg muscles. The implant is described in a new study published today in Nature Medicine.

Marc has had Parkinson's for about three decades. Twenty years ago, he received an implant that delivered deep brain stimulation—a common treatment for this disease. Despite that, he gradually developed neurological problems that left him unable to get around. "I was forced to stop walking for three years and I was considered handicapped," Marc said.

From MIT Technology Review
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