A Moving Story

Microchip allows paraplegics to move legs again

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

A new type of microchip known as the Active Book because of its folded, 3D shape will allow paraplegics to exercise their paralyzed leg muscles.

The advancement arrives thanks in part to a study led by professor Andreas Demosthenous from University College London.

The device is small enough to be implanted in the spinal canal and includes electrodes and a muscle stimulator in one compact unit, about the size of a child’s fingernail.

“The work has the potential to stimulate more muscle groups than is currently possible with existing technology because a number of these devices can be implanted into the spinal canal,” said Demosthenous.

Other potential functions of the Active Book include stimulating bladder muscles in incontinent patients and stimulating nerves to improve bowel capacity and suppress spasms.

The Active Book will be made available for pilot studies next year.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
November 22, 2010
Last Updated:
November 23, 2010