New therapy lets paralyzed people walk allowing them to do things that previously were not possible.
The new therapy is being used on people with spinal cord injuries.
Take the case of Kelly Thomas.
Each step is exhilarating and exhausting.
She pauses amid the 90-degree Florida heat and smiles.
“It only takes a little bit of try — and by a little, I mean a lot,” she told CNN.
Thomas, 24, is one of three paralyzed patients who can now walk again.
This is due to a stimulation device implanted in her lower back.
As well it accompanies intense physical therapy.
The new therapy is considered an important medical breakthrough.
Thomas is an inspiration.
Even though she is only 5 feet, 1 inch tall, she has true grit.
“Paralysis isn’t in my dictionary.”
“Don’t call me handicapped, because I’m not.”
“Thank God, I was raised cowboy tough.”
Her 40 feet walk from her car to a tree takes several minutes.
She is part of innovative research conducted by the Kentucky Spinal Cord Injury Research Center.
The center is located at the University of Louisville.
The results of the university’s study were published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
“This should change our thinking about people with paralysis,” says Susan Harkema, one of the lead researchers on the project.
She also is a professor in the Department of Neurological Surgery at the University of Louisville.
“It’s phenomenal. This new knowledge is giving us the tools to develop new strategies and tools for recovery in people with chronic spinal injuries.”
Claudia Angeli, the other lead researcher says it’s a fascinating time to be involved in spinal cord research.
The research – spanning decades – is resulting in modern-day breakthroughs, she says.