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"This has not been done before": Clinical trials on Long Island help spinal cord injury patients regain some movement

Exclusive: Patch, electrode stimulation may offer hope for paralysis patients 02:17

MANHASSET, N.Y. -- There is no cure for paralysis, but some spinal cord injury patients on Long Island are calling their personal feats miracles.

As part of a clinical trial at Feinstein Institutes, they were attached to electrode stimulation and regained some movement in their hands and arms.

Researchers tell CBS2's Jennifer McLogan this has never been done before.

Sharon Laudisi was the victim of a serious car crash last year.

"My life ended that day, or at least I thought it did," she said. "Depression sank in, like, the day that I realized I couldn't move it."

The single mom from Westbury lost all sensation in her hand. Sixteen doctors told her it was permanent and to get on with her life.

"I got to the point where I really was considering just going away. I'm not embarrassed to say this because it hits you that hard," Laudisi said.

"There's over 100 million people worldwide living with some level of movement impairment or paralysis," said Professor Chad Bouton, with the Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research.

Bouton and his team reached out to Laudisi, who had peripheral nerve injury, and another patient with spinal cord injuries to join others in a Feinstein Institutes study.

"We have developed a patch that electrically stimulates the spinal cord itself. You place it over the base of the neck. This allows us to promote regrowth and reconnections," Bouton explained.

"A 700% increase in muscle strength, it was a very surprising benefit," scientist Santosh Chandrasekaran said.

"They were able to figure out a way to get my brain, my spine to communicate to my hand and regain, restore movement," Laudisi said.

No drugs, no side effects, no surgery. Researchers believe bio-electronic medicine is the future of health care.

Laudisi will be able to work and drive again, to cook and clean, and do simple things, like open a bottle of water, and personal things.

"Blow-drying, the brushing the hair, the feminine hygiene," Laudisi said.

"There's no cure for paralysis right now. There's no pill you can take," Bouton said.

Bouton says restoring sensation and movement in the human hand "has not been done before and we are very excited about this."

"It's bringing back my life and my daily functions that you take for granted," Laudisi said.

Researchers are next working on a chip implant in the motor area of the brain to redirect thought patterns activating muscles in a paralyzed body.

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