A tiny inflatable spinal cord stimulator has been developed by researchers at the University of Cambridge with the aim of making spinal cord stimulation more practical and accessible.
While the device was developed for people with back or leg pain, it could also have applications for treatments for spinal cord injury, said Duncan Wallace, SpinalCure’s Executive Director.
Duncan, who works closely with the SpinalCure Scientific Advisory Panel, said, “SpinalCure’s neurostimulation research funding is focussing on non-invasive surface mounted stimulation because of the expense and inherent dangers of surgically implanted stimulators.
“This device, if adapted for paralysis recovery, could be the best of both worlds,” he said.
In fact, the researchers have identified the device as a potential treatment for paralysis from spinal cord injury, because it is very adaptable. The way the device is made means that additional components can be added, such as more electrodes or it can be bigger to cover larger areas of the spine with increased accuracy.
Ben J. Woodington et al. ‘Electronics with Shape Actuation for Minimally Invasive Spinal Cord Stimulation.’ Science Advances (2021). DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.abg7833