Aspire's reaction to the research study published in the Journal of NeuroEngineering and Rehabilitation.

Aspire is excited by reports that a spinal cord injured man has been able to walk again using direct brain control, but urges that the wider picture surrounding the realities of spinal cord injury should also be considered.   Paralysis does not result solely in the inability to walk; other issues which spinal cord injured people have to deal with on a daily basis include loss of sensation, pain, inability to sweat, bladder and bowel management and sexual function.  We would welcome further research investigating whether this technology could also be used for the restoration of other functions.

Every eight hours in the UK someone is paralysed by a spinal cord injury; it can happen to anyone at any time and no one is prepared for how it will change their life.  Whilst Aspire welcomes the results of the studies by the University of California, it is a proof-of-concept study involving a single patient who required both mental and physical training over a 19 week testing period.  We are therefore a long way from this method of walking becoming a practical alternative to using a wheelchair for the tens of thousands of people in the UK affected by Spinal Cord Injury.  

Spinal cord injured man walking in research study
Photos credit: University of California, Irvine

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