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Ryan Coady, Director of Neurosurgery Community Relations

502-407-3032 – work
502-852-2334 – fax
ryan.coady@louisville.edu

University of Louisville Dept. of Neurosurgery
Frazier Rehab & Neuroscience Bldg.
220 Abraham Flexner Way, Suite 1115
Louisville, KY  40202

The UofL Department of Neurosurgery is constantly working to make a difference in the lives of its many patients and their families. One such patient is Rob Summers, who was completely paralyzed below the chest after being struck by a vehicle in a hit and run accident in July 2006. Today, he is able to reach a standing position, supplying the muscular push himself. He can remain standing, and bearing weight, for up to four minutes at a time (up to an hour with periodic assistance when he weakens). Aided by a harness support and some therapist assistance, he can make repeated stepping motions on a treadmill. He can also voluntarily move his toes, ankles, knees and hips on command.

These unprecedented results were achieved through continual direct epidural electrical stimulation of the subject’s lower spinal cord, mimicking signals the brain normally transmits to initiate movement. Once that signal is given, the research shows, the spinal cord’s own neural network combined with the sensory input derived from the legs to the spinal cord is able to direct the muscle and joint movements required to stand and step with assistance on a treadmill.

Through your generous support of the UofL Neurosugery dept., our research team receives the resources they need to help patients like Rob Summers. To learn more about giving to UofL Neurosurgery, please contact Ryan Coady, Director of Neurosurgery Community Relations, at 502-407-3032 or ryan.coady@louisville.edu