Promising new technique helps people with paralysis - WNCN: News, Weather

Promising new technique helps people with paralysis

Posted: Updated:
LOUISVILLE, Ky. -

In a new study released Tuesday in the journal Brain, researchers demonstrate a promising new technique that will help people with paralysis.

Dustin Shillcox is paralyzed from the chest down. Moving his legs is out of the question. Or was.

Susan Harkema, a neuroscientist at the University of Louisville, has been working with Shillcox.

Doctors have implanted a device that sends electrical stimulation to his spine. When he turns it on, he can move on demand.

When the stimulator is turned off, he is unable to even sit up. His torso muscles don’t work.

When the stimulator is on, Shillcox can sit up without any support at all.

“The first time I turned it on it was exciting and emotional for me at the same time,” he said. “Emotional because I was told that I’d never be able to walk or move my legs again.”

Shillcox is one of four patients in the new study that was published Tuesday.

Despite the patients’ gains, none are able to walk on their own. The device only works when activating one leg at a time.

This is not the first example of electrical stimulation helping paralyzed patients, but experts say this technique may become another tool in the toolbox.

"I think what's incredibly exciting is we've opened up a realm of possibilities of what we can do now with people who are paralyzed and we've just scratched the surface," Harkema said.


  • Check This OutMore>>

  • VIRAL VIDEO: If you own a dog, prepare to happy cry

    If you own a dog, prepare to happy cry

    The video says it all.
    The video says it all.
  • FL man spray-paints garage door with message for thief

    FL man spray-paints garage door with message for thief

    Sunday, July 27 2014 11:39 AM EDT2014-07-27 15:39:37 GMT
    Jerry Ashley's message spray-painted on his garage door.Jerry Ashley's message spray-painted on his garage door.
    A Lakeland man has spray-painted his garage door with a message for the thief who stole his late wife’s laptop filled with sentimental photos.Jerry Ashley is still grieving over the passing of his wife Darlene, who died from an aneurysm last month at the age of 48.His loss has been compounded by thieves, who broke into his Lakeland home this week.Ashley has a lot of fond memories of his wife, and many of those memories are stored in a computer that was stolen from his home, now he taking an u...
    A Lakeland man has spray-painted his garage door with a message for the thief who stole his late wife’s laptop filled with sentimental photos.Jerry Ashley is still grieving over the passing of his wife Darlene, who died from an aneurysm last month at the age of 48.His loss has been compounded by thieves, who broke into his Lakeland home this week.Ashley has a lot of fond memories of his wife, and many of those memories are stored in a computer that was stolen from his home, now he taking an u...
  • UPDATE

    Former WWE World Heavyweight Champion takes down home burglar

    Former WWE World Heavyweight Champion takes down home burglar

    Saturday, July 26 2014 12:29 AM EDT2014-07-26 04:29:12 GMT
    Cesar Sosa (Source: Maricopa County Sheriff's Office)Cesar Sosa (Source: Maricopa County Sheriff's Office)
    A home burglar quickly realized he picked the wrong house to break into when the homeowner, a former WWE World Heavyweight Champion, took him down.
    Phoenix police said wrestling star Bryan Danielson and his wife were pulling into their carport when two suspects dropped their loot and ran out of the house.
  • Trending StoriesTrending StoriesMore>>

  • DOT fixes sign for new 485 flyover that spelled Pineville wrong

    DOT fixes sign for new 485 flyover that spelled Pineville wrong

    Friday, July 25 2014 1:40 PM EDT2014-07-25 17:40:30 GMT
    Thursday morning the Department of Transportation officially opened a ramp from Johnston Road to I-485. The flyover ramp opened around 5:15 a.m.
    Thursday morning the Department of Transportation officially opened a ramp from Johnston Road to I-485. The flyover ramp opened around 5:15 a.m.
  • 2 charged with first-degree murder in beating death of UNC professor, cancer researcher

    2 charged with first-degree murder in beating death of UNC professor, cancer researcher

    Friday, July 25 2014 9:00 AM EDT2014-07-25 13:00:14 GMT
    A UNC research professor was robbed and beaten to death Wednesday afternoon on University Drive in Chapel Hill, police said.
    A UNC research professor was robbed and beaten to death Wednesday afternoon on University Drive in Chapel Hill, police said.
  • VIRAL VIDEO: If you own a dog, prepare to happy cry

    If you own a dog, prepare to happy cry

    The video says it all.
    The video says it all.
Powered by WorldNow

1205 Front St., Raleigh
N.C., 27609

Telephone: 919.836.1717
Fax: 919.836.1687
Email: newstips@wncn.com

Can't find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.