Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Creator of "Bionic Ear" Working to Help Paraplegics

The creator of the bionic ear is about to start tests on a new spinal cord implant, which could help paraplegics walk again.

The Bionic Ear Institute's Professor Graeme Clark is working with scientists from the Australian Research Centre to develop the technology.

Patients would have an implant inserted near their spinal injury and receive a controlled hormone release to stimulate new nerve growth.

Professor Clark says testing is about to start on animals, but it could be some time before it is ready for human use.

"I would say if the animal tests are successful - [it could be ready] within a few years," he said.

"I don't mean three - it could be four, it could be five, then that's time to do some preliminary studies a couple of years later on patients."