A paralyzed man in Poland is moving again due to a pioneering treatment involving the growth of new nerve pathways in his spinal cord. The therapy is said to have given Darek Fidyka, 40, the ability to use his legs — even though he sustained a spinal cord injury nearly four years ago.
Professor Geoff Raisman, chair of neural regeneration at University College London’s Institute of Neurology, led the United Kingdom research team. These doctors lay their claim to 40 years of research stemming from the olfactory bulbs, responsible for our sense of smell, in the brain. “The olfactory bulb is the only nerve tissue in the brain that can be regenerated,” Raisman says, “We believe that this procedure is the breakthrough which – as it is further developed – will result in a historic change in the currently hopeless outlook for people disabled by spinal cord injury.”
All those involved in the research are keen not to raise false hopes in patients and stress that the success will need to be repeated to show definitively whether it can stimulate spinal cord regeneration.
Fidyka said walking again is, “…an incredible feeling.” He adds: “When you can’t feel almost half your body, you are helpless. But when it starts coming back, it’s like you were born again.”