Paralyzed Rats Walk Again, Raising Hope for Humans

An experiment that has helped paralyzed rats to walk again has raised new hopes for patients with spinal cord injury. Researchers used a combination of drug therapy, electrical stimulation and exercise training to enable rats with spinal cord injuries to walk and support their body weight, according to the study, which was published this week in Nature Neuroscience.

Previous studies have used embryonic stem cells to repair damaged spinal nerves, allowing paralyzed rats to regain some function. But rather than reconnecting the spinal system with the brain, the new research focuses on stimulating and retraining the existing sensory system below the level of the injury.

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