A new invention created by two engineering students at the University of Manitoba in Canada is helping rehabilitate those with spinal cord injuries. The invention looks like a cross between an ab-exerciser and a stationary bicycle. The Neuro Mechano Stimulator Pedals stimulates receptors on the sole of the patient's feet. By stimulating sensory inputs and spinal reflexes at the same time, the device is supposed to help generate new neural pathways in the spine.
According to Professor of Electrical Engineering, Dr. Zahra Moussavi, "NASA has been using special shoes to stimulate the mechanoreceptors of the foot sole for astronauts to compensate for the void of stimulation due to being in zero gravity, which enables them to walk normally when they get back to earth." What the students did was to use that idea in combination with other sensory input stimulation and then use that technology to help people with spinal cord injuries.
After the first 8-week trial, participants have had a noticable improvement in their mobility. Based on the positive results from the first study, researchers are now planning to start a more large-scale clinical trial.
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