Considering today's times, sooner or later, issues related to the spinal cord start creating problems. This recent research might help with some of the miseries.
FREMONT, CA: In today's world, where every other day, new advancement in medical technology is to be seen, novel platinum/iridium microelectrodes have been used by the researchers from the University of Alberta, Canada, for creating a functional map of the monkey’s lower spinal cord. The goal was to demonstrate how various segments of the spinal cord control lower limb movement. This development can be later used for the rehabilitation of patients with paralysis.
Being an intricate part of the nervous system, the spinal cord’s stimulation was studied for re-animating paralyzed limbs and enhancing recovery. The researchers studied the organization structure of feline spinal cords for having intended, controlled effects. However, these greatly differ from human spinal cords. Hence, for addressing this issue, the researchers of Alberta made use of an implantable microelectrode for studying the macaque monkeys’ spinal cord organization.
The researchers also utilized platinum/iridium microelectrodes (75 µm diameter) and a spine-mounted stereotactic system for specific and accurate spatial control of microelectrode placement. The electrodes were put in 3D every 2mm in one way and every 0.5mm in the other two, which allow for high-resolution volumetric mapping. At every location, stimulation of between 10 µA to 300 µA at 50 Hz was used. The researchers studied the movements by substituting reflective markers at major limb positions and recording them with a camera.
Thus, using this approach, the researchers conducted the study on four macaque monkeys in which they mapped their lower spinal region between L2 and S1. A functional map of the spinal cord was created by using their findings, which documented how stimulation at specific points translated into motor movements, involving hip extension and flexion, knee extension and flexion, ankle extension and flexion, and backward and extensor synergy.
According to researchers, the intraspinal stimulation will support people to start walking for a more extended period as well as at a faster pace.