A SOLUTION TO PARALYSIS Imagine a situation in which you are sitting on achair for a longtime and not being able to get up even if you wanted to, orimagine a situation where you can’t even lift a coffee mug within arm’s lengthor not being able to walk or run using your own legs, even though this mightseem like a nightmare for many of us, it is the life that millions of peoplelive worldwide, the condition which is being referred to here is called spinalinjury.
Spinal injuries in most cases are caused by road accidents, severefalls, sports injuries and violence. According to a recent WHO report, 250000-500000cases are recorded every year worldwide, this is just an estimated number; theactual number may be even higher. In India this number reaches around 1 millionA spinal cord injury usually causes permanent damageto strength, sensation and function below the site of injury; patients areusually bed ridden or wheel chair bound.Previously this type of injury did not have any cureto speak of, but recently reversing paralysis have been making waves in thenews. Gregoire Courtine who is a professor of neuroprostheticsat the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology at Lausanne and his team of researchershave developed a mechanism through which they were able to restore the functionof the hind legs of mice and monkeys .
In the experiment Gregoire and hiscolleagues implanted a recording device beneath the animals skull just touchingthe motor cortex of its brain and placed a pad of flexible electrodes around the injured area of the spinal cord, awireless connection joined the two devices , the result the observed was that the systemdetected the animals intention to move and transmitted it immediately .This technology isstill in its nascent stage of developing and the researchers estimates that it wouldtake at least 10 years more for this technology to be used in the mainstream medicalpractice. Still it promises hope for many people worldwide suffering from thedevastating effects of spinal injuries