Implant, intense rehab help 3 paralyzed for years take steps

WASHINGTON (AP) — In remarkable research to treat spinal cord injuries, three people whose legs were paralyzed for years can stand and take steps again — with some assistance.

Researchers implanted a device that zaps the spinal cord with electricity. Then came intense rehab.

First patients stepped on a treadmill. Eventually, they could move across the floor holding onto a walker.

It’s not a cure: Turn off the stimulator, and they no longer voluntarily move their legs. Far more study is needed to tell why the approach worked and who else might benefit. Two other patients given the stimulator could stand but not walk.

Researchers at the University of Louisville and the Mayo Clinic separately performed the studies, published Monday in the New England Journal of Medicine and Nature Medicine.

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