Understanding the way babies take their first steps could help improve spinal injury rehabilitation, according to researchers in the Netherlands.

Researchers at VU University in Amsterdam believe studying brain patterns and walking behaviours in babies, which allow them to take their first steps, could help to improve rehabilitation for adults with spinal cord injuries

Dr Nadia Dominici, who is leading the research at the university’s Faculty of Behavioural and Movement Sciences, has explained that even before babies can stand, they have an instinct of what to do. This is caused by a primitive stepping reflex, a foundation on which babies build their independent walking movement.

The team believe that this information could help spinal cord injury survivors’ mobility through improved rehabilitation.

Samantha Hemsley, national head of the serious injury and clinical negligence teams at Thompsons Solicitors, said: “While this research has largely focussed on how babies instinctively learn to walk, any information that could help to improve rehabilitation for spinal cord injury survivors is welcome news.

“We know that research and scientific developments can be time intensive, and while we await further advances in treatment and rehabilitation services for spinal injury survivors to become available, we continue to ensure our clients receive the best rehabilitation, support and care services available, while supporting them in making necessary adaptations to their home.”