June 1, 2012

Paralyzed Rats Walk Again, Thanks to Electricity, Chemicals—And Chocolate


Wearing a robotic harness, paralyzed rats have been made to walk again, according to a new study—albeit with an oddly upright, humanlike gait and while stimulated by judicious jolts of electricity and chemicals. It's the first time severely injured spinal cords have been reawakened, say researchers, who add that the technique might hold some promise for disabled people. … Mayo Clinic neurologist Tony Windebank agreed. "All the things they are doing in rats are things you can do in people." He cautioned, however, that stimulating and enhancing the automatic walking reflex is "much easier to do in quadrupeds compared to upright animals."


National Geographic by Rachel Kaufman

Tags: Dr. Tony Windebank, injured spinal cords, National Geographic, Neurology, Research

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