A paraplegic man who lost the use of his legs following a motorcycle accident is standing and moving again after doctors stimulated his spinal cord using electrical signals.
The 32-year-old was paralysed from the waist down after completely severing his spine in the crash, and had made no progress despite 80 sessions of regular physiotherapy.
However researchers at the University of Louisville, in Kentucky, US, have to re-awaken his nerves using spinal cord epidural stimulation (scES), where an electrical device is implanted in the lower back, below the injury.
Humans are able to move because electrical signals originating in the brain’s motor cortex travel down to the lumbar region in the lower spinal cord, where they activate motor neurons that coordinate the movement of muscles responsible for extending and flexing the leg.
But injury to the upper spine can cut off communication between the brain and lower spinal cord.
In the new therapy,  a stimulator …