Newswise — Patients with severe spinal cord injuries typically have a dire prognosis: complete paralysis below the site of the injury. But biomedical engineers are giving paralyzed people new hope. By implanting electrical stimulators in the lower spinal cord, researchers are bypassing the site of the injury and directly activating spinal neurons that control the lower body.

The early experiments have met with great success. With the help of this spinal stimulation, the first human test subject was able to stand on his own and move his legs voluntarily on the very first day of the experiment. With further development of these implanted electrical stimulators, researchers may one day allow paralyzed people to walk again.