From Our 2005 Archives

Device Shows Promise for Spinal Cord Injury

SATURDAY, Jan. 22 (HealthDayNews) -- A experimental device designed to regenerate nerve fibers in people with spinal cord injuries shows promise, says an Indiana University School of Medicine study in the January issue of the Journal of Neurosurgery.

The oscillating field stimulator (OFS) creates an electrical field in the area of damaged nerves. It was developed at Purdue University.

In this study, the cigarette lighter-sized device was implanted in 10 people with complete motor and sensory spinal cord injury. It was removed after 15 weeks, and the patients were tracked for the following year.

After six months, all 10 people showed some improvement in sensation. After a year, all nine people who remained in the study showed varying degrees of improvement.

Two people recovered some lower extremity function and one man had restored sexual function.

"This isn't a home run, but it warrants additional investigation. The big question was whether the procedure, which is very invasive and requires two surgeries, is efficacious -- and the initial results indicate that it is," study author Dr. Scott Shapiro, a professor of neurosurgery at Indiana University School of Medicine, said in a prepared statement.

A second clinical trial of the device involving 10 people with severe spinal cord injuries is scheduled to begin early this year.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: Indiana University, news release, January 2005

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