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Published on May 22, 2012
Neuroprosthetics and robot rehabilitation wake up the "spinal brain" and restore voluntary movement. (http://courtine-lab.epfl.ch/). Additional footage by Jeff Desmarchelier (Erebus films - Rewalk webdocumentaire)
Rats with spinal cord injuries and severe paralysis are now walking (and running) thanks to researchers at EPFL. Published in the June 1, 2012 issue of Science, the results show that a severed section of the spinal cord can make a comeback when its own innate intelligence and regenerative capacity—what lead author Grégoire Courtine of EPFL calls the "spinal brain"—is awakened. The study, begun five years ago at the University of Zurich, points to a profound change in our understanding of the central nervous system. It is yet unclear if similar rehabilitation techniques could work for humans, but the observed nerve growth hints at new methods for treating paralysis.