A promising first step for those with spinal cord injury: Further reading on electrical stimulation and how it’s helped rats (and one human!) walk again

TED Blog

Grégoire Courtine and the scientists in his lab helped a paralyzed rat learn to walk again, voluntarily, through a treatment that combined drugs, electrical stimulation of the lower spinal cord, the support of a robotic arm and a little bit of chocolate. When their study appeared in the June 2012 issue of Science, it sparked a lot of excitement. Articles in Scientific American (“With Willpower, and a Jolt of Electricity, Paralyzed Rats Learn to Walk Again”) and The New York Times (“In Rat Experiment, New Hope for Spine Injuries”) followed, as did a segment on ABC News (“Paralysed rats on ‘incredible’ road to recovery”).

[ted_talkteaser id=1860]Today, Courtine shares the story behind this work. The keys to his breakthroughs: a riveting call to action from Christopher Reeve, and a mentor who encouraged wild experimentation.

“The spinal cord below most injuries contains all the…

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