Paralysis Recovery

Nobody has ever recovered from paralysis. Until now. Patients using epidural stimulation therapy have regained abilities once believed permanently lost when the spinal cord is injured. BEL13VE is funding the medical research at the Mayo Clinic required to make recovery possible for everyone living with paralysis. Please join us.

Together, we will get this done.


Recovery Results

For the first time, research has found a way for people living with chronic paralysis to regain what was lost. Until now, therapy has been limited to helping people live with what was lost.
Using a grant from the BEL13VE Foundation and other funding, in April 2017 Mayo Clinic became the first medical center in the world to replicate and validate paralysis recovery results achieved using epidural stimulation.
 

 
Jered is the fifth patient with results published in medical journals to use epidural stimulation therapy to regain abilities once believed to be permanently lost. According to the Mayo team, Jered’s results exceed anything achieved so far.

Starting in 2011 at the University of Louisville, Dr. Susan Harkema performed the first four successful epidural stimulation procedures on human patients with chronic paralysis. Rob Summers (at right in the picture above) was the first to undergo the procedure.

Four young men on wheelchairs smiling at the camera

Three years prior to replication study completed by Mayo Clinic, in April of 2014, Dr. Susan Harkema was featured on the Today Show and in numerous other national and regional news stories to talk about the stunning findings from her research on spinal cord injury recovery using epidural electrical stimulation.

Today Show Video: https://youtu.be/p05XhJbkA7c

Starting in 2011 at the University of Louisville, Dr. Susan Harkema performed the first four successful epidural stimulation procedures on human patients with chronic paralysis. Rob Summers (at right in the picture above) was the first to undergo the procedure.


Medical Journal Reports

Mayo Clinical Proceedings, April 2017

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“Enabling Task-Specific Volitional Motor Functions via Spinal Cord Neuromodulation in a Human With Paraplegia”

Mayo Clinic became the first medical center in the world to replicate and validate paralysis recovery results achieved using epidural stimulation.

Reports on a case of chronic traumatic paraplegia in which epidural electrical stimulation (EES) of the lumbosacral spinal cord enabled (1) volitional control of task-specific muscle activity, (2) volitional control of rhythmic muscle activity to produce steplike movements while side-lying, (3) independent standing, and (4) while in a vertical position with body weight partially supported, voluntary control of steplike movements and rhythmic muscle activity. This is the first time that the application of EES enabled all of these tasks in the same patient within the first 2 weeks (8 stimulation sessions total) of EES therapy.

Brain, A Journal of Neurology, April 8th, 2014

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“Effect of epidural stimulation of the lumbosacral spinal cord on voluntary movement, standing, and assisted stepping after motor complete paraplegia: a case study”

Exciting Recovery Research Results

A study published in the medical journal BRAIN found that four young men classified with a chronic motor complete spinal cord injury (just like Jack) were not only able to voluntarily move their legs in the presence of epidural electrical stimulation, but also regained voluntary movement in their hips, knees, ankles and toes.

Even more amazing, and unexpected, these first four research participants have also shown a myriad of improvements in their overall health, including increased muscle mass, improved regulation of their blood pressure, reduced fatigue, and they were able to bear weight independently…stand! They also each regained bowel, bladder and sexual function.

“The circuitry in the spinal cord is remarkably resilient. Once you get them up and active, many physiological systems that are intricately connected and were dormant come back into play,” said V. Reggie Edgerton, Ph.D., UCLA distinguished professor of integrative biology, physiology, neurobiology and neurosurgery and a contributor to this new research work.

These research results are truly amazing and inspire our foundation to keep pushing to bring a sense of urgency, awareness, and funding to spinal cord injury recovery.

Lancet, May 20, 2011

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“Effect of epidural stimulation of the lumbosacral spinal cord on voluntary movement, standing, and assisted stepping after motor complete paraplegia: a case study”

From the National Institutes of Health

National Institute of Biomechanical Imaging and Bioengineering

2015

Framework for a Research Study on Epidural Spinal Stimulation to Improve Bladder, Bowel, and Sexual Function in Individuals with Spinal Cord Injuries – Read Article

June 2016

Spinal cord stimulation helps paralyzed people move hands – Read Article