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New technology allows some paralyzed people to walk again

The plight of people who have sustained spinal cord injuries is well known to many in Ohio. Researchers seem to be looking for cures to the condition almost constantly, with new reports of medical and scientific steps forward being released regularly. Many victims of a spinal cord injury simply want to walk again -- a feat that many others in this world take for granted.

Imagine that you are driving along normally. Suddenly, a driver you did not see crashes into your vehicle, leaving you paralyzed for the rest of your life. The toll of such an injury is three-fold: physical, emotional and financial.

Evidence of this latter cost is seen in the newest solution making its way through rehabilitation centers. A bionic suit that injured individuals can use to perform everyday movements is bringing hope to many people. The suit costs $150,000 and is not yet covered by insurance companies. That may not be the case in the future, considering the benefits that such a suit may have and the fact that it may save on rehab costs.

A 27-year-old man who was paralyzed in a July 2010 accident has been using the technology for the past three months. He enjoys it and is discovering new functions and learning them as he goes. It has allowed him to walk, and other victims watching the sessions are amazed, hoping that one day they will be able to walk again too.

Originally, the suit was designed to bear heavy loads for members of the military. It is powered by a battery and, once it makes it out of rehabilitation centers and into homes, each suit will be customized to fit the individual.

Source: ABC 7, "Bionic suit offers spinal cord injury patients help walking," Denise Dador, Dec. 19, 2012

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