Some people with paralyzed limbs are able to move them again through research underway at Iowa State University. Jason Gillette, an I-S-U professor of health and human performance, says he’s testing a computer-controlled electrical stimulation system.People with spinal cord injuries can’t move their limbs because the connection to the brain has been severed, but the nerves themselves may still be intact. Gillette says the electrical signals can help bridge the gap, sending signals to the muscles to activate them and make them move. Gillette is looking for more volunteers who have spinal injuries to help him in his research.He says the therapy works with people who have a variety of injuries but it works best in people who have “complete” injuries, those who have no voluntary control or sensation below the level of injury. Ultimately, Gillette is working to enable people who have paralysis to be able to stand up and move themselves from the wheelchair to a bed or a desk chair at work. He says this work is exciting because it has the potential to truly change lives. Gillette says it’s very rewarding to see someone right in front of you, who was injured ten years ago, be able to stand with the assistance of this technology. For people interested in volunteering for the research, call Gillette at (515) 294-8310 or email “[email protected]”.
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