by CHRYSTAL STASICKY Media Editor
A paralyzed man finally moved his legs after two and half years during an experimental treatment in Louisville, Kentucky.
At the age of 24, Calven Goza was involved a car accident with a drunk driver which left him paralyzed below the chest. His doctors told him he would never be able to move his legs again, but a new science has proven them wrong.
At the University of Louisville on December 5 of last year, electrodes were implanted into Goza’s spine. Electrodes are conductors that passes electric currents from a power source to another object.
“The idea of electric currents rushing through my body just gives me the chills. It is crazy to think that Calven was okay with that, but I guess you will try anything you can in order to get back the life that you used to have,” said sophomore Caroline Cugini.
Researches wired sensors up and down Goza’s leg and placed a rig with string tied to it around his toe. The goal of the therapy was to get Goza to pull the string with his toe, but more would happen.
In order to get Goza’s leg to move, the researchers had to send the correct charge through his spine. Goza was trying his best, but the researchers got no results. However, after two hours of failed electric therapy, Doctor Susan Harkema, a neuroscientist and the lead researcher on the project, asked Goza if she could amp up the voltage.
“Let’s give it a try,” Goza said.
With the increase in voltage, Goza was able to move the string. The researches raised the voltage again and Goza bent his knee.
“It was pretty awesome,” Goza said. “I questioned it at first: Maybe it didn’t actually happen, and I was just hoping it did.”
After a few more hours passed, Goza was able to move his leg up and down several times. The researchers, however, do not know if this therapy can help Goza walk again, but they are hopeful, just as Goza’s family is.
Four other paralyzed men have had this therapy over the past five years, but none of them can walk. Even so, these men have experienced other benefits from the electric therapy. They now have control over their bowels and bladders, and have regained sexual function.
One of the four study subjects said, “Sure, I’d like to walk someday. But just give me sexual function and bowel and bladder control — I’m a happy camper.”
Besides those benefits, blood pressure was affected as well. Another study subject’s blood pressure had been fluctuating wildly and making him feel weak, but after the therapy, his blood pressure was back under control.
Freshman Shannon Glynn said, “I can’t believe that these men have got some control over small parts of their bodies because of the electric shocks they were being given. I’m happy to know that they can control their bladders and not embarrass themselves. I really hope though that the researchers will keep looking into the therapy. It must be dangerous to be putting electric into someone’s body like that.”
The tests will continue this year on seven more patients, and the impact the therapy has on the cardiovascular system will be monitored.
Do you think this kind of treatment if safe for the human body? Why or why not?