Spinal cord injury (SCI) is dangerous and it can make people’s life miserable. Such injuries make victims paralyzed. Paralysis is a nightmare because people lose their movement. The spinal cord in the backbone is one of the most delicate parts of our body. Its main function is to transfer all electrical signals and some chemical to our other body parts and back to the brain. Some accidents causing injury to spinal may cause paralysis. To help such people, scientists have developed a new spinal cord implant. This implant helps patients to regain their ability to move and walk again.
In case of injury, the treatment of SCI is complex and sensitive. We can take the cord as the main bus bar that runs the whole electrical system of our body. We can understand the human body with simple analogies. Nevers are wirings and blood vessels are plumbing. The French scientists of EPFL (Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne) and NCCR Robotics have developed a new implant named e-Dura. The Dura matter is actually the name of the protective layer of our spinal cord. As this one is electronic thus the name e-Dura.
Experiments were conducted on rats with spinal injury at first. After using this implant the rats were able to move within a few weeks of therapy. This was a huge success because past experiments showed rejections. This new implant can carry electrical impulse and even drugs. The material is very flexible and can last for 10 years according to scientists. Most importantly, there are no reported rejections and negative reactions until now.
e-Dura and Treatment
e-Dura is made up of Silicon with gold tracks for electrical conduction between platinum and silicon electrodes. The silicon and gold give the device great elasticity and flexibility. There is another channel for drug and chemical flow also. This implant is directly placed over the spinal cord of the patient. Human trials are in the process. The experiments showed positive results in rats with SCI so the hopes are high. Scientists also assume that it can help with other diseases like Parkinson’s disease and epilepsy.
Older experiments and products showed negative results. Those results include inflammation, damage, etc due to friction and less flexibility. This is a product that can work with our natural biological organ in harmony. The dream and hope is to give paralyzed people movement ability back. This can be a life-changing implant for many people.
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This device is one of the most advanced and elegant until now. Paralysis is a very serious problem and e-Dura has shown hope to fix this. The prototypes will be out soon and human trials will begin soon. Till today no other devices or implants passed the match test because they showed irritation with spinal cord and were rejected sooner or later. However, there are many experiments and research happening on this topic.
Simply speaking, Epidural Stimulation is a form of treatment or rehabilitation for SCI patients. In this, electrical signals are bypassed and sent to the lower spinal cord. The conductive stimulating electrode is placed in the dura. Signals stimulate the cord and the required activity. Patients do need a huge amount of training and practice after installation of the chip. It can many weeks before a patient can gain mobility easily.
The brain sends signals over the damaged cord as well. And the stimulator helps to improve and transfer the signal. The human body is both complex and marvelous. Doctors fine-tune the implanted chip and stimulator for better results. Practice, therapy, and fine-tuning are very necessary for cased involving epidural stimulation. This is still relatively new, experiments and expensive treatment. Medical science is still finding a cure and better treatment for SCI.
Many people lose lower body movement, limbs movement after disease and accidents. There are many cases of athletes, mountaineers, cyclists and stunts man. Those people have a very hard time. Device and marvels development like these can help them roam again and eventually live their life to the fullest again.