Innovative ‘Wraparound’ Implants Offer Fresh Hope for Spinal Cord Injury Treatment

Researchers at the University of Cambridge have developed a groundbreaking electronic device designed to wrap around the spinal cord and offer a new method for treating spinal injuries. The newly devised equipment could one day lead to non-invasive treatments, bypassing the need for high-risk brain surgeries typically associated with spinal repair.

The interdisciplinary team consisting of engineers, neuroscientists, and surgeons created the device, which is capable of recording comprehensive 360-degree nerve signals between the brain and spinal cord. This contrasts with current methods, which can only gather a partial view of spinal cord activity.

Preliminary tests with animal and human cadaver models have demonstrated the device’s capability to stimulate limb movement and to potentially restore communication in cases of completely interrupted brain-spinal cord connections.

Existing spinal injury treatments often require interventions that pierce the spinal cord and implant devices in the brain; both types of procedures come with significant risk to patients. The device from Cambridge aims to eliminate those risks by making brain surgery unnecessary for spinal treatment.

Although a practical treatment application may be several years down the line, the team believes their device can soon make a significant impact by monitoring spinal cord activity during surgeries. This immediate application could enhance the understanding of spinal functions, informing the development of more effective treatments for various conditions, including chronic pain, inflammation, and hypertension. The findings have been published in the journal ‘Science Advances’.

Source: Medical Xpress

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