May 2018 - Non-invasive spinal stimulation method enables paralysed people to regain use of hands

Researchers at University of California Los Angeles have published results of a UCLA-led clinical study using non-invasive spinal cord stimulation in people with chronic spinal cord injury. The research, published in the Journal of Neurotrauma, demonstrates positive outcomes for six people in the trial, three of them completely paralysed.

They have regained use of their hands and fingers for the first time in years after undergoing a nonsurgical, noninvasive spinal stimulation procedure the researchers developed.

At the beginning of the study, three of the participants could not move their fingers at all, and none could turn a doorknob with one hand or twist a cap off a plastic water bottle. The study participants had chronic and severe paralysis for more than one year, and some for more than 10 years. The research showed that the stimulation, in conjunction with activity-based therapy, enabled the participants to open doors, use a phone and open bottles. 

"After just eight sessions, they could do things they haven't been able to do for years," said V. Reggie Edgerton, senior author of the research and a UCLA distinguished professor of integrative biology and physiology, neurobiology and neurosurgery.
Reggie Edgerton is a former Spinal Research grant holder and regular speaker and attendee at our annual Neuroscience Network Meeting.