Bridging the gap between the brain and muscles
In a small study involving people with spinal cord injuries, researchers have successfully used electrical stimulation to activate the muscles needed for walking. While still in the early phases with humans, this research points the way to restoring the ability to walk to individuals with spinal cord injuries. It has long been thought that by “jumping” the injured neural circuitry in the spinal cord signals from the brain could be transmitted to activate muscle groups below the injury. The tricky part is to coordinate the muscle movement into functional use and activities as well as allowing the person to command those functions.