With the help of electrodes implanted in the brain stem, rats with spinal cord injuries can regain the ability to walk and swim with ease, scientists report October 23 in Science Translational Medicine.
It’s not yet clear whether the technique would work in people with paralysis, but the research represents a new lead in the search for badly needed therapies, says study coauthor Lukas Bachmann of the University of Zurich.
The results complement recent work that restored movement to paralyzed rats by stimulating neurons in the spinal cord (SN: 6/30/2012, p. 5). Instead of targeting the spine, the new study focuses on the brain.
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