Paralysis is defined as the loss or impairment of the ability to move a body part and/or the loss of sensation to a region of the body as a result of damage to it's nerve supply. There is a distiction however between the ability to move a body part and sensation in a region of the body. For example, a cat who has had all sensory nerves in it's leg severed, but still has an functioning output connection from the brain to its legs will be able to walk. (It will however have difficulting adjusting to uneven terrain.) Furthermore, in many animals the severing of the spinal chord may result in the inability to consciiously walk, but the walking motion and rhythm can still be induced by experimenters. This indicates two things: 1) There is no need for constant sensory input for the motion of the legs (in terms of walking) and 2) The spinal chord is responsible for generating the normal walking pattern.

I find these two facts very interesting in terms of the situation of the human paralysis and loss of motion. Furthermore the issue of conscious movement is an important one. How does what one feels relate to how one moves? Although a paralyzed person "feels" no pain the foot will still retract when pinched. This indicated that the conscious notion of pain is not necessary fot the body to try and protect it's tissues. I think that conscious movement and the issue of pain raise some very interesting questions and would like to read further on the subject. I also think that this subject has some interesting ramifications on the treatment of severe chronic pain.

Careful about defintion of paralysis, there are lots of different kinds, as we'll see as we continue talking. You're ahead of us a bit, but yes, an ability to walk autonomously is one of the properties of the spinal cord. As is, distinctly, an ability to walk without sensory input. Yes, indeed, the observations raise some interesting questions about the relation between consciousness and pain (and about how to treat pain). PG