University of Louisville researchers said a man paralyzed in an accident a decade ago can now stand and take steps on his own, thanks to a breakthrough in spinal cord treatment.
Andrew Meas’ spinal cord was injured in a motorcycle accident in 2007. Initially paralyzed from the chest down, Meas has regained some control of his lower limbs.
His progress now is being called a breakthrough in the treatment of people with serious spinal cord injuries.
“Oh man. I can stand up, you know, pick my knees up, stuff like that when I lay down,” he said.
In 2011, Meas received an implant that sends electrical impulses to his spine, allowing him to stand and move his legs.
After years of intensive training, he can do that without the stimulation.
Researchers at UofL’s Kentucky Spinal Cord Injury Research Center said Meas’ spine essentially re-learned how to work again.
“The spinal cord has a very large capability of re-learning. We know the spinal cord knows all these things, how to perform all these tasks on its own, but after a spinal cord injury it kind of loses the connection with the brain and the initiation of the motor tasks. So, now we know with intense training this capacity returns to the spinal cord,” UofL researcher Claudia Andeli said.
The research was published in Thursday’s issue of the journal Scientific Reports.
Funding for the research is supported in part by the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation. In an interview on The Big Idea, Meas shared his story and said, “You don’t know how far our technology can take us and the things they learn from research. Anything can happen.”