Thanks to a ground-breaking study performed by Mayo Clinic and UCLA, a man from Tomah, Wisconsin is now able to partially move his legs for the first time in four years. The study, which has yielding promising results in the past, could soon become standard procedure in treating various types of injuries that lead to paralysis.
Jered Chinnock is a 28-year-old man from the town of Tomah, Wisconsin. Although he’s always considered himself an optimist, Chinnock said that his life completely turned around after the snowmobile accident he suffered approximately four years ago.
As Chinnock recalls, while riding his snowmobile, a gust of wind blew him off the seat. After he had recovered from the blow, Chinnock tried to get up and to reach his snowmobile. However, due to the severity of the blow, the man could no longer use his legs.
After being brought to the hospital, the doctors confirmed what he already knew – he was paralyzed from the waist down and will have to use a wheelchair to get around. Chinnock said that after the accident, he came to terms with having to live his rest of his life moving around in a wheelchair.
However, his life changed for a second time, after the Mayo Clinic and UCLA invited him to participate in a novel paralysis treatment. Last year, as part of the study, Chinnock underwent surgery, during which an electrode was implanted on his spinal cord.
As the researchers explained, the tiny electrode mounted on Chinnock’s spinal cord has the role of redistributing the electrical signal as it is traveling from the man’s brain to his legs. More specifically, the electrode acts more or less like a bypass. This means that, with adequate training, the man might be able to walk again.
The team said that the results became evident two weeks after Chinnock’s surgery. Thinking about moving his legs, the patient managed to make step-like moves while lying on his back. Ever since his surgery, Chinnock has undergone countless sessions of physical therapy.
He recently declared that although he can’t actually feel his legs, he’s able to perform simple motions with the help of the doctors. When asked how he felt about participating in the Mayo Clinic study, the man said that he was overwhelmed to see his legs working again and that he looks forward to standing on his two feet and taking a walk outside without the wheelchair.
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