New insight into why paraplegic rats can walk again after therapy

With the help of robot-assisted rehabilitation and electrochemical spinal cord stimulation, rats with clinically relevant spinal cord injuries regained control of their otherwise paralyzed limbs. But how do brain commands for walking, swimming and stair-climbing bypass the injury and still reach the spinal cord to execute these complex tasks? Scientists have observed for the first time that the brain reroutes task-specific motor commands through alternative pathways originating in the brainstem and projecting to the spinal cord.  This new therapy will give more hope to those living with a spinal cord injury.

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New insight into why paraplegic rats can walk again after therapy