The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved a medical device tested on actor Christopher Reeve to help paralyzed people breathe without a ventilator.
The device, made by Synapse Biomedical Inc. of Oberlin, Ohio, electrically stimulates the muscles and nerves that run through the diaphragm. It allows some spinal cord injury patients to breathe for at least four hours a day without a mechanical ventilator.
Reeve was paralyzed from the neck down in a horseback riding accident in 1995. The "Superman" star received the experimental device in 2003 and could breathe off a ventilator for about 15 minutes while using it. He died in 2004.