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Hope for paraplegic patients
Date:5/16/2014

This news release is available in German.

People with severe injuries to their spinal cord currently have no prospect of recovery and remain confined to their wheelchairs. Now, all that could change with a new treatment that stimulates the spinal cord using electric impulses. The hope is that the technique will help paraplegic patients learn to walk again. From June 3 5, Fraunhofer researchers will be at the Sensor + Test measurement fair in Nrnberg to showcase the implantable microelectrode sensors they have developed in the course of pre-clinical development work (Hall 12, Booth 12-537).

Thomas T. was just 25 years old when a severe motorcycle accident changed his life in an instant. Doctors diagnosed him with paraplegia following an injury to his spinal cord in the lumbar region. The young man has been confined to a wheelchair ever since. The diagnosis of paraplegia came as a shock, and it was only in the course of a month-long period of rehabilitation that Thomas T. was able to come to terms with his condition. Patients like him currently have no prospect of recovery, as there is still no effective course of treatment available for improving motor function among the severely disabled.

Now a consortium of European research institutions and companies want to get affected patients quite literally back on their feet. In the EU's NEUWalk project, which has been awarded funding of some nine million euros, researchers are working on a new method of treatment designed to restore motor function in patients who have suffered severe injuries to their spinal cord. The technique relies on electrically stimulating the nerve pathways in the spinal cord. "In the injured area, the nerve cells have been damaged to such an extent that they no longer receive usable informat
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Contact: Dr. Peter Detemple
Peter.Detemple@imm.fraunhofer.de
49-613-199-0318
Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft
Source:Eurekalert  

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