The Definition of Victory Over Paralysis
We all know Superman and his extraordinary abilities. He can face even the toughest of challenges and achieve greatness against all odds This is not unlike Christopher Reeve, the actor who played Superman in the original movie series. He had great challenges of his own.
Christopher Reeve injured his spinal chord in a horseback riding accident, leaving him paralyzed and unable to walk. He envisioned a day where he and those with similar injuries would be able to get up out of their wheelchair and walk again. This is why he started the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation.
This foundation put together a team of researchers who were equally as excited about this project as Christopher Reeve and his family. Christopher Reeve has since passed away, but his legacy lives on through his team, his family and his son Matthew at the helm of the organization.
It has been ten years since Christopher Reeve passed away, and now there has been an incredible breakthrough called “Epidural Simulation.” The foundation hand-picked four individuals with severe spinal chord injuries to study this breakthrough.
Epidural stimulation involves implanting a device, called a stimulator, in the spinal column of a person with a spinal chord injury. This stimulator sends generalized electrical signals to the spinal chord, similar to what the brain did before their injury. The stimulator is controlled by using voice commands. For example an individual with the simulator can say, “Move right leg,” and his own right leg will move.
Matthew Reeve said this new development is a “game changer.” One participant in the study said: “It makes me feel normal again.” Another said: “The epidural stimulation project is the definition of victory over paralysis. It is working on quality life today, while finding the cure for tomorrow.” Christopher Reeve dreamed of a world with empty wheelchairs, and this device is a huge step in realizing that dream.
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