(CNN)A man with a spinal-cord injury leaving him wheelchair bound has been able to walk thanks to a revolutionary new spinal implant.
Two other men involved in the study were also able to regain control of their leg muscles after they were implanted with electrical stimulators that could help compensate for the damage to their spinal cords, according to new research published in the journal Nature.
The spinal cord carries messages from the brain to other parts of the body, allowing us to move our limbs, feel sensations like pressure or temperature, and control vital functions.
If it is damaged, the neural signals can have trouble getting through, leaving a person paralyzed or otherwise disabled. In this experiment, researchers at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne used electrical implants to bridge the gap in the spinal cord, helping to carry the messages from the brain across the damaged area into a non-damaged part of the spinal cord lower down.
The effects of the treatment lasted beyond when the electrical signals stopped, and "all of the participants retained some improvement in muscle movement even after the stimulation therapy," according to Nature.