Innovative Spinal Cord Stimulation Enhances Hand Control for Paralysis Patients

Spine Injury

In a major breakthrough for individuals with spinal cord injuries, a new noninvasive medical device called ARCex has shown promising results in a clinical trial by helping to restore hand and arm function in paralyzed patients. The trial involved 60 participants who, like journalist Melanie Reid who suffered a severe spinal injury 14 years ago, had limited or no upper-body mobility.

Reid, once left mostly paralyzed after a horse-riding accident, regained the use of her left hand following the clinical trial with the device. The significance of these regained abilities cannot be overstated, as many who suffer from similar injuries prioritize the recovery of hand functions over walking. Reid’s personal victories, such as being able to tie her hair or operate a tablet, are indicative of the device’s potential impact on quality of life for tetraplegics and quadriplegics.

The clinical trial combined two months of physical therapy alongside another two months of therapy paired with the new stimulation technology. Results published in Nature Medicine illustrate that a significant majority of the trial’s participants benefited from the treatment. When the stimulator was turned off, 72% of participants saw improvements in both the strength and function of their hands or arms, with 90% showing improvement in at least one metric and 87% reporting enhanced quality of life.

Source: MIT Technology Review

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