A Vanderbilt neurosurgeon is looking to recruit patients with paraplegia to investigate whether intraspinal microstimulation technology can restore complex body movements.
The implantation of tiny electrodes along the spinal cord has caused paralyzed animals to walk, but it has yet to be tested with humans. Peter Konrad, M.D., Ph.D., and his research team are seeking volunteers willing to participate in a proof of concept experiment.
The study requirements are very specific. The participants must be undergoing a previously scheduled spinal surgery for a reason other than the experiment. And they should have a completely severed spinal cord between the thoracic 3 and thoracic 8 vertebrae without further damage below that point.
“I want absolutely no question that we are creating the movement and that there is no accidental circuitry input,” Konrad said.