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 Epidural Stimulation Timeline
2022
April 7
April 1

New Controller Developed at UofL Improves Home Use of Epidural Stimulation for People With Spinal Cord Injuries

Keith Smith, who has tetraplegia, takes independent control of an implanted Medtronic Intellis Neurostimulator, allowing him to take advantage of the stimulator’s benefits.
 
When Keith Smith recently got a new tablet, it wasn’t for watching videos or scanning social media. Instead, this tablet allows Smith, who has tetraplegia, more independent control of an implanted Medtronic Intellis neurostimulator, allowing him to better take advantage of the stimulator’s benefits for the disabling effects of a spinal cord injury. Smith received the stimulator two years ago while participating in a study involving individuals paralyzed by spinal cord injuries at the University of Louisville’s Kentucky Spinal Cord Injury Research Center (KSCIRC). The stimulator has provided Smith benefits such as voluntary movement, increased trunk control and improved blood pressure regulation.
 

Read the Entire Story at UofL News

March 29
February 17

Spinal Cord Stimulation: Jerod’s Victories Over Paralysis

Jerod Nieder and Hanna Alcock
 
For the past decade, researchers at the Kentucky Spinal Cord Injury Research Center have studied the impact of epidural stimulation, which is a small amount of electrical current applied to the spine, on people with spinal cord injury. The technology has gotten better over the past few years, and now some patients are achieving what most believed would never be possible. One man celebrates his personal victory over paralysis, one milestone at a time. At the Kentucky Spinal Cord Injury Research Center, scientists use programmed electrical stimulation to help patients stand and control their core. Jerod is one of 38 patients with a stimulator inside his body. “The electrode is a 16-electrode array. It contains 16 contacts, and it is implanted in what’s called the lumbar sacral spinal cord,” Claudia Angeli, PhD, director of the Epidural Stimulation Program at the University of Louisville, explained.
 

Read the Entire Story at IVANHOE News

February 8

New York Man With Paralysis Stands 39 Years After Injury Thanks To UofL’s Spinal Cord Research

Henry and Mary Stifel
 
Hoping to change the trajectory of spinal cord injury research, dubbed the “graveyard of neuroscience,” Henry Stifel and his father started a foundation to raise money and fund research that would give hope for recovery to people with spinal cord injuries. That foundation eventually merged with the American Paralysis Association and later with what now is known as the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation, supporting research and advocacy for individuals with spinal cord injury.
 

Read the Entire Story at UofL News

2021
October 25
October 6
September 22

Ashley Williams isRegaining Movement as a Participant in Our Epidural Stimulation Trials.

 
Ashley Williams moved to Louisville more than a year ago to participate in spinal cord injury research with the Kentucky Spinal Cord Injury Research Center. She now has hope for more independence. Ashley is a participant in our first randomized trial with epidural stimulation. The primary goal of that project is to look at the efficacy of epidural stimulation in regulation of blood pressure in individuals. Williams is already seeing some improvement. She is still in the very early stages post-surgery and is currently working on tasks like trying to bring her knees up to her chest. “I want people to know that just because I’m not walking doesn’t mean I haven’t made recovery,” Ashley said. “When I first came home from the hospital, I couldn’t move my right arm at all. I could barely twitch my left arm. Now, I can move both my arms. I can do all kinds of things.”
 

Read the Entire Story at WDRB News

August 11
May 5

University of Louisville’s Kosair Charities Center for Pediatric Neurorecovery

KOSAIR Charities - Supporting Organizations
 
In 2014, Kosair Charities invested in a vision to provide the best care for spinal cord injuries, conduct cutting-edge research to guide our therapies, and to train the next generation of therapists, physicians, and researchers in a recovery-based program. With a $7.3 million investment, the University of Louisville’s Kosair Charities Center for Pediatric Neurorecovery was established for children with spinal cord injuries like Luke.
 

Read the Entire Story

April 26

Pediatric NeuroRecovery PowerStep

Pediatric PowerStep
 
Researchers at the University of Louisville’s Kentucky Spinal Cord Injury Research Center and clinicians at Frazier Rehab Institute use ‘locomotor training’, a therapy designed to access the ‘smart’ spinal cord, even below the injury in paralyzed children to help them recover the ability to sit, stand, and in some instances, even walk again.
 

Read the Entire Story

April 1
March 16

UofL and Medtronic to Collaborate on Custom Epidural Stimulation Algorithms to Restore Function in Individuals With Spinal Cord Injury.

UofL News
 
$7.8 million from NIH will fund development of a closed-loop system to monitor and adjust for multiple function use, wireless monitoring.
 
Researchers at the University of Louisville made news worldwide in 2018 when two people diagnosed with complete spinal cord injuries recovered the ability to walk thanks to experimental use of a therapy known as epidural stimulation. The news gave hope to people living with complete spinal cord injuries, a diagnosis that historically meant they were unlikely to regain function below their level of injury.Despite these significant results, use of epidural stimulation outside a research lab setting to restore function for people with spinal cord injury thus far has been hampered by several limitations, including the use of a technology that was designed for patients with chronic, intractable pain – not those with spinal cord injury.
 

Read the Entire Story in UofL News

March 1
2020
December 24
December 16
December 8
October 22
October 20
August 4
July 27
May 6
March 10
2019
December 20
May 20

WHAS 11 Kentucky Spinal Cord Injury Research Center Story

 
WHAS 11 news story about one of the Kentucky Spinal Cord Injury Rehab Center participants.
 

Read the Entire Story in TIME Magazine

April 3

UofL Magazine

 
Kentucky Spinal Cord Injury Research Center participants were featured on the cover of the Spring 2019 edition of The University of Louisville magazine.
 

Read the Entire Story at UofL News

February 25
February 4
2018
December 1
September 27
September 25

Individuals With Chronic Spinal Cord Injuries Voluntarily Take Steps

Kelly Thomas
 
Amazing’ treatment helps paralyzed people walk again.
 

Read the Entire Story at CNN

September 17

Recovery of Cardiovascular Function in Spinal Cord Injured People Sustained Following Epidural Stimulation Training

 
For this study, research participants received stimulation using specific configurations selected to target cardiovascular function, monitoring blood pressure and cardiovascular function throughout, for an average of 89 daily, two-hour sessions. Earlier research showed the benefits of scES in controlling cardiovascular function during stimulation, but this data reveals participants’ blood pressure and heart rate remained stabilized between sessions, showing an enduring effect.
 

Read the Entire Story at JAMA Neurology

September 17
September 4

Miracle of Paralysed Crash Victim Who Can Walk Again Thanks to Superman Star Christopher Reeve

 
A hit-and-run victim paralysed from the waist down has stood up on his own and taken his first steps after pioneering treatment. Rob Summers, 25, is the first patient to respond to the therapy, which involves electrical stimulation of the spinal cord. He said: ‘This procedure has completely changed my life.’

 

Read the Entire Story in Daily Mail

September 4

Paralyzed Man Shows Remarkable Recovery

 

Five years ago, Rob Summers was 20 years old and about to enter his junior year at Oregon State University in Corvallis, where he was a pitcher on the baseball team. One night when he went out to retrieve a gym bag from his car, another car jumped the curb, hit him, and then took off. Summers was paralyzed from the chest down. Today, in a case report published in The Lancet, doctors and researchers reveal that Summers has regained the ability to stand for a few minutes and to perform some voluntary movements of his lower extremities, thanks to electrodes they implanted in his spinal cord.

 

Read the Entire Story in Science Magazine

July 1
June 6
May 22
May 18
March 14
March 8
February 1

University of Louisville Researchers Report Activity-based Training Improves Urinary Function After Spinal Cord Injury

 
Spinal cord injury impacts communication between the brain and the neurons in the lower part of the spinal cord that controls bladder, bowel, and sexual function. This communication from the brain is necessary for voluntarily control of these systems. Investigators from the Kentucky Spinal Cord Injury Research Center at the University of Louisville have discovered that rehabilitation designed to improve motor function also resulted in improved bladder, bowel and sexual desire. Their work, which is published in the journal PLOS ONE, highlights the value of activity-based rehabilitative therapies, such as locomotor training, for not only improving motor activity, but also for the potential to recover autonomic function throughout the body.
 

Read the Entire Story at UofL News

January 31
January 5

Clinical Trial for Epidural Stimulation Approved

 
WDRB story on epidural stimulation research at U of L including interviews with Rob Summers, Stefanie Putnam, and Susan Harkema.
 

Read the Entire Story at WDRB News

2017
October 27

Paralyzed Man Shocks Scientists Be Regaining the Ability to Stand and Move On His Own

 
A research participant at the University of Louisville with a complete spinal cord injury, who had lost motor function below the level of the injury, has regained the ability to move his legs voluntarily and stand six years after his injury. A study published today in Scientific Reports describes the recovery of motor function in a research participant who previously had received long-term activity-based training along with spinal cord epidural stimulation. This wonderful and exciting news is being reported around the world. Check below for some of the coverage of this groundbreaking development in the understanding and treatment of spinal cord injuries.
 

Read the Entire Story at Newsweek

October 26
October 11
August 9
August 1

Proof of Principle

Heart and Lungs

Cardiovascular and Respiratory 5

July 3
2016
October 5
October 3
September 27

New $5M Grant to Support Robotics Research for Spinal Cord Injury Patients

 
Balance is an essential component of daily life, something many of us take for granted. But not everyone can. In the United States alone, there are about 300,000 people living with spinal cord injury (SCI) and some 12,000 new SCI cases each year, most of them young adults, 80% of them men. The recovery of motor functions—walking, standing, and balance—after a SCI is slow and limited, can be highly variable, and can take months or even years. The cost of care for SCI patients is enormous—annually over $3 billion. Studies have shown, however, that activity-based interventions offer a promising approach, and Sunil Agrawal, professor of mechanical engineering and of rehabilitation and regenerative medicine at Columbia Engineering, is at the forefront of research efforts to improve recovery through the development of novel robotic devices and interfaces that help patients retrain their movements.
 

Read the Entire Story at News Wise

September 1

Proof of Principle

Heart and Lungs

Cardiovascular and Respiratory 4

July 15
June 1
May 18

Don’t Call It A Miracle

 
A 238 page book that explains the basic biology of the injured cord, what the basic approaches the scientists are taking to heal, mend or bypass the nervous system and what you, as a non-scientist, can do to speed things along. This book is available in a PDF to download and hard copy. All formats are free.
 

Receive Your PDF Copy at Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation

April 21

Paralyzed Groom Defies the Odds, Stands at Wedding

 
Several wedding guests dried their tears as Kent Stephenson patiently stood, waiting for his bride to come down the aisle. Some of that emotion was surely for Misti Richeson, walking down the aisle in her lacy white dress and cowboy boots, but many others were astonished at what Stephenson was able to do, standing at the altar. Stephenson and Richeson had only been dating for a few months when Stephenson, a Pro Am Motocross racer, had a devastating accident. In June 2009, the motor on his motorcycle locked up 80 feet in the air. The crash injured his spinal cord and left his body paralyzed from the chest down. Doctors said he’d be in a wheelchair the rest of his life.
 

Read the Entire Story at USA Today

2015
December 2

#GivingExpress: NextStep Fitness: Gym Inspires Hope in the Paralyzed

 
Morning Express’ sports correspondent Brian McFayden is passionate about all things sports and fitness, so it’s only natural that Brian selected NextStep Fitness as his charity for #GivingExpress. NextStep Fitness in Lawndale, California, is a non-profit organization that founder Janne Kouri says provides a ‘progressive, state-of-the art, community based fitness, health, and wellness facility for people that are living with paralysis.’ NextStep Fitness utilizes a method of rehabilitation therapy called locomotor training. Locomotor training uses a treadmill and suspends a person above it. Then, therapists move the person’s legs in a stepping and walking motion, trying to retrain the spinal cord how to walk again. “A lot of people do regain function. Some people get to walking again…the health benefits of locomotor training are just unbelievable,” says Kouri.
 

Read the Entire Story at HLN at CNN

October 22
October 1

Proof of Principle

Heart and Lungs

Cardiovascular and Respiratory 3

September 10
September 1

Proof of Principle

Implant X-Ray

Motor Control Original Study 7

September 1

Proof of Principle

Heart and Lungs

Cardiovascular and Respiratory 2

August 13
August 6
July 30
July 24

CNN: Paralyzed Patients Able to Stand

 
“I can stand up for more than half an hour,” said Dustin Shillcox, who was paralyzed in a car accident five years ago. “It’s awesome. It’s amazing. It’s a hopeful feeling.” Shillcox and the other three men had electrical stimulators surgically implanted in their spines, and are working toward walking again someday.
 

Read the Entire Story at CNN

July 24
July 15

UofL, Frazier Rehab Equipment Gives Hope to Paralyzed Children

 
The University of Louisville and Frazier Rehab unveiled new equipment Thursday that’s giving hope to children who are paralyzed. It’s paving the way for mobility for one little boy who was told, from birth, he would never walk, stand or sit up on his own. Frazier Rehab has been helping people with spinal cord injuries, regain mobility through locomotor training, but it was never tailored for children, until now.
 

Read the Entire Story WLKY CBS News

February 22

Program Teaches Paralyzed How to Walk Again

 
Kyle Bartolini can get around with crutches or a walker – a transformation he owes to exercise-based therapy. Called locomotor training, it allows people with spinal cord injuries to practice standing and stepping while suspended above a treadmill. University of Louisville Neurosurgery Professor Andrea Behrman is pioneering the treatment in children in a new pediatric program.
 

Read the Entire Story the Courier Journal

February 1

Proof of Principle

Heart and Lungs

Cardiovascular and Respiratory 1

January 30
January 13

Recovering From Spinal Cord Injuries

 
Some of the most significant advances in spinal cord injury research have been in the field of neurorehabilitation. Neurorehabilitation uses physical therapy exercises to improve mobility and, when initiated soon after injury, the training can enhance the effectiveness of cellular therapies like growth factors. A new treatment developed by Susan Harkema, a neuroscientist at the University of Louisville, builds on this research and demonstrates the value of neurorehabilitation even years after injury.
 

Read the Entire Story at Brain Facts

January 8
January 6

Man Moves Legs for 1st Time Since Accident

 
CNN has an article and video about Calven Goza as epidural stimulation allows him to achieve the first movement of his legs since his accident.
 

Read the Entire Story at CNN

January 1

The Today Show looks at Epidural Stimulation

 
The Today Show speaks with Kent Stephenson, Matthew Reeve, and Susan Harkema about the epidural stimulation.
 

Read the Entire Story at TODAY

January 1

Proof of Principle

Implant X-Ray

Motor Control Original Study 6

2014
November 1

Proof of Principle

Implant X-Ray

Motor Control Original Study 5

October 26

How One Dad’s Paralysis Changed His Family Forever

 
When Andrew Meas first became a young father at the age of 22, he was physically unstoppable. In addition to working as an electrical technician and caring for his son with his wife Sophorn, he adhered, for years, to a strict routine of daily gym workouts, plus a slew of activities that kept him fit — kickboxing, kung fu, snowboarding, skiing, hiking, and Muay Thai, the martial art of Cambodia, the country his parents left for California when Meas was still in utero. But it all came to a halt one early evening in 2007, when Meas was cruising home from the gym on his motorcycle in Louisville, Kentucky, where he had lived since high school. He was hit head-on by a car, and the impact caused a spinal-cord injury, leaving him paralyzed from the chest down.
 

Read the Entire Story at Yahoo! News

October 15

Allowing the Paralysed to Stand Again

 
Surgeon Gabriel Weston travels to Kentucky to find out about pioneering research led by Dr Susan Harkema at the University of Louisville which is producing remarkable, and completely unexpected, results.
 

Read the Entire Story at BBC

October 15

How the Paralyzed Can Regain Movement – Dr. Susan Harkema Talks About Her Research

 
Dr. Susan Harkema tells Gabriel Weston about the extraordinary results of her research project.
 

Read the Entire Story at BBC

October 15

How I Went From Being Paralyzed to Being Able to Stand Again – Kent Stephenson Tells His Remarkable Story

 
Kent Stephenson tells his story of becoming paralyzed at 21 through a motorcycle accident, and then regaining movement thanks to a medical breakthrough: an electronic chip implanted in his lower spine.
 

Read the Entire Story at BBC

August 7

Harkema Helps Injured Walk to Victory

 
Our community is fortunate to be blessed with so many people who dedicate their time and talents to improve the lives of others. Luckily, there are people like Dr. Susan Harkema who landed at the University of Louisville’s Kentucky Spinal Cord Injury Research Center and the Director of Research at Frazier Rehab Institute. She is also the director of the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation’s Neurorecovery Network. A few weeks ago, Dr. Harkema and a team of volunteers lead the way to The Walk to Victory Over Paralysis event at Frazier Rehab, the first of its kind. There was an overwhelming response from the community, who gathered to take their turn to walk on treadmills that ran continuously for 24 hours. Without a doubt, the first-time event was a success and helped set the stage for years to come.
 

Read the Entire Story in The Voice Tribune

June 10

New Treatment May Offer Hope for Injured Olympian

 
An Olympic swimmer is fighting to regain use of her legs. Amy Van Dyken-Rouen, now 41, suffered a devastating spinal injury that was once considered irreversible. Van Dyken-Rouen posted photos on Instagram from her hospital bed Tuesday. One caption reads: “Doing great today. My room is the most decorated in ICU. Thx for ur thoughts & prayers!”
 

Read the Entire Story at CBS News

April 17
April 9

Medical Breakthrough Helping Paralyzed Patients Move Again?

 
University of Louisville Assistant Professor Dr. Claudia Angeli and spinal cord study participant Rob Summers on the medical breakthrough that is raising hope for those facing paralysis.
 

Read the Entire Story at FOX Business

April 9

Paralysed Men Move Again With Spinal Stimulation

 
Four paralysed men have been able to move their legs for the first time in years after electrical stimulation of their spinal cords, US doctors report. They were able to flex their toes, ankles and knees – but could not walk independently. A report, in the journal Brain, suggests the electricity makes the spinal cord more receptive to the few messages still arriving from the brain. Experts said it could become a treatment for spinal injury. The spinal cord acts like a high-speed rail line carrying electrical messages from the brain to the rest of the body. But if there is any damage to the track, then the message will not get through. People with spinal cord injuries can lose all movement and sensation below the injury.
 

Read the Entire Story BBC News

April 8

‘Shocking’ Study Gives Hope to Paralyzed People; Shows Electricity Helps Them Stand, Move Legs

 
Electricity may provide hope to men and women who suffer paralysis. Three years ago, doctors reported that zapping a paralyzed man’s spinal cord with electricity allowed him to stand and move his legs. Now they’ve done the same with three other patients, suggesting their original success was no fluke. “This is wonderful news. Spinal cord injury need no longer be a lifelong sentence of paralysis,” said Dr. Roderic Pettigrew, director of the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering, one of the National Institutes of Health, according to NBC News. “It is just downright marvelous.”
 

Read the Entire Story in New York Daily News

April 8

Paralyzed Men Move Their Legs Again With Breakthrough Spinal Treatment

 
Researchers at the University of Louisville had only intended to study nerve pathways, but they made a far more surprising discovery. By applying electrical stimulation to the spinal cord through the use of an implant, patients with chronic complete paralysis were able to move. After the initial findings with patient Rob Summers, three other paralyzed men were tested and able to move their legs, wiggle their toes.
 

Read the Entire Story in Mashable

April 8

Electrical Pulses Help Paralyzed Patients Move

 
Four people who were paralyzed below the waist for more than two years were able to voluntarily wiggle their toes and flex their legs, thanks to a promising study that some are heralding as a breakthrough in spinal-cord-injury treatment. The key to the achievement, say the study’s authors, was stimulation of the spinal cord using a commercially available electrical stimulator commonly used to treat pain. The device is surgically implanted just above the spine’s dura, in the epidura, where animal studies showed it could appropriately relay signals to the legs and lower extremities.
 

Read the Entire Story in TIME Magazine

April 8

Zapping spinal cord with electricity helps paralyzed men move legs again

 
LONDON – Four paralyzed patients have regained some ability to flex their toes, ankles and knees after receiving a novel type of electrical stimulation therapy known as epidural stimulation, according to a new study supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).“The result of this study has been really exciting news for these four patients, which is that spinal cord injury may no longer mean a lifelong sentence of complete paralysis,” Dr. Roderic Pettigrew, director of the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB) at NIH.
 

Read the Entire Story at FOX News

March 1
2013
November 7
November 4

Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Spectrum Magazine

 
Dustin Shillcox fully embraced the vast landscape of his native Wyoming. He loved snowmobiling, waterskiing, and riding four-wheelers near his hometown of Green River. But on 26 August, 2010, when he was 26 years old, that active lifestyle was ripped away.
 

Read the Entire Story in IEEE Spectrum

September 15
August 31
June 1

Standing Promise

 
Electrode implants have already helped one paralysis patient get on his feet again. Is walking the next step?
 

Read the Entire Story in Discover

January 23

4 Lessons From a Breakthrough Spinal Stimulation Treatment

 
Four years after an auto accident left him paralyzed from the chest down, Rob Summers was standing on his own two feet. Here’s how his doctors did it.
 

Read the Entire Story in Popular Mechanics

January 23

Rob Summers: From Quad to Para and Beyond?

 
It almost looks easy — just apply 10 volts of electric current to the spinal cord and — voila! — a paralyzed man stands.
 

Read the Entire Story in New Mobility

January 1

Proof of Principle

Implant X-Ray

Motor Control Original Study 4

2012
December 6

Epidural Stimulation — Improving Results for Spinal Cord Injury

 
Investigators report incremental progress in using epidural stimulation to help people with spinal cord injury stand, walk, and move some muscles.
 

Read the Entire Story in Neurology Today

October 16
September 7
September 6
September 1
February 4

Luck & Desire

 
Rob Summers owned a secret to beating the odds, until a car burst out of the darkness and his luck ran out on him. Or did it?

 

Read the Entire Story in Southwest Spirt Magazine

2011
November 1

Proof of Principle

Implant X-Ray

Motor Control Original Study 3

August 1

Proof of Principle

Implant X-Ray

Motor Control Original Study 2

  • T4 Motor and Sensory Complete

May 20
May 19

Electrode Experiment Shows Promise as a Paralyzed Man Stands

 

A young man paralyzed by an injury to his spinal cord has regained the ability to stand for short periods, take steps with help and move his legs and feet at will, with the help of an electrical stimulator implanted in his lower back.

 

Read the Entire Story in The New York Times

2010
September 30
May 3
2009
December 1

Proof of Principle

Implant X-Ray

Motor Control Original Study 1

  • C7/T1 Motor Complete

  • Sensory Incomplete

2008
May 8
May 8
2007
April 19

Walking Away From Paralysis

 
The best moment in Reneé Ford’s life came the day her son Chase, then 2, tried to kick his doctor. It was July 2005, and that angry gesture marked the first time the boy had moved below the neck in more than a month.
 

Read the Entire Story in TIME Magazine