Spinal implants enable three paralyzed people to walk again

A new implant technology has enabled three people who were completely paralyzed from the waist down to walk again with support. A neurostimulating device implanted in each patient's abdomen amplifies signals traveling from their brain down the spine to trigger nerves in their back and legs below where the spinal cord is injured. From New Scientist:

[Michel] Roccati, who was paralysed in a motorbike crash in 2017, now uses the implanted device for 1 to 2 hours a day, including for going for walks on his own. He can also stand up for 2 hours, cycle and even swim, by choosing different stimulation programs. He finds walking or standing helps relieve pain caused by sitting in a wheelchair all day.

Users choose what kind of patterns of movement they need through a tablet computer. This links wirelessly to a device called a neurostimulator put into their abdomen, which connects to electrodes on their spine. The neurostimulator will have to be replaced after about nine years, although the electrodes should last the lifetime of the recipient.

"Activity-dependent spinal cord neuromodulation rapidly restores trunk and leg motor functions after complete paralysis" (Nature Medicine)