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Japanese scientists learn to walk in patients with spinal cord injury

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Japanese scientists from Keio University are developing a unique method for rehabilitation of people with spinal cord injury. Special training will give hope for the restoration of function of musculoskeletal system.

The exoskeleton will help those who have suffered trauma, to learn to walk Together with Cyberdyne scientists are testing the method of treatment of spinal cord injuries, using stem cells and the latest development – the exoskeleton.

The first stage of work will take place with the involvement of 20-30 patients injured about six months ago before the start of the study. Within a few months, they will undergo rehabilitation course in the form of training, consisting of a specially selected set of exercises that are performed in the robot suit HAL.

It is planned that such training will not take more than an hour. Built-in sensors of the suit for workouts pick up signals transmitted from the extremities to the brain, and special nodes help the person to move. At the current stage of scientific work engineers together with medical experts develop the optimal therapy, and biologists have begun to rebuild nerve cells, using the samples of the iPS, which will continue to change people in order to stimulate the recovery of functions of nervous tissue.

Scientists believe that if the experience with the restore recently lost function will be positive in the second stage they will attempt the rehabilitation of those patients who was injured for a long time and could not recover with traditional methods. Treatment with exoskeletons scientists regard as a major breakthrough. To date, the number of those people in Japan that have resulted in injury have paralysis or severe spinal cord injuries that limit mobility, up to 100 thousand people.

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