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Electronic neural bridge helps paralyzed mice walk again, human application might prove tricky

Vlad Savov

It's only been a week since we heard about age reversal in mice, yet already we've got another big advancement in rodent medical care: a solution for ameliorating the devastating effects of spinal cord injuries. A UCLA research team has shown off a new system that can restore walking motion to a mouse's hind legs, but not only that, it also grants control to the little fella by responding to its front legs' actions. Electromyography sensors detect when a mouse starts to walk up front, triggering electronic signals to be sent to the functional lower portion of its spine, which in turn starts up the rear muscles for a steady walking gait. It's only been tested on a treadmill so far, but the result seems to be a seamless restoration of walking capacity in rodents that doesn't require any outside assistance. The same will be pretty hard to replicate in humans, bipeds that they are, but that's why it's called research and not reobvious.

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