Skip to main content

Reanimate Paralyzed Limbs through Implantable Devices

Within the next decade, individuals suffering from stroke or spinal cord injury can have their mobility restored or improved with the help of a new technology- implantable device. These machines can send out signals between areas of the nervous system or brain that have been disconnected because of injury.

The effort includes researchers from San Diego State University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and several other partners. To encourage their efforts and to support development of this technology, the NSF or National Science Foundation has renewed funding for the center. Experts say there is a huge need for developing newer medical devices to assist people with traumatic or progressive neurological conditions such as spinal cord injury or stroke. The aim is to attain proof-of-concept demonstrations in the next five years. This should lay the foundation for eventual clinical devices that are approved by the government.

CSNE was instituted in 2011 with a grant of $18.5 million. Since then, the organization’s interdisciplinary team comprising of engineers, neuroscientists, computer scientists, ethicists, neurosurgeons, and industry partners has been able to come up with 'bi-directional' implantable mechanisms that send information to other areas. These devices decode and record electrical signals that are generated by the brain when an individual forms an intention, for instance, to move a hand for picking a mug. The devices can also transmit the information wirelessly, creating a new pathway (artificial) around the areas of the brain or nervous system that have been damaged.

Apart from this, CSNE is also working towards improving implantable technologies used today, including deep brain stimulators that are used for treating patients with Parkinson's disease. These transport electric pulses across the human brain at an apt frequency which is adjusted by the physician to attain the desired effect. However, this means that the human brain is bombarded constantly by electrical pulses even while the patient is resting. This can cause unwanted side effects and completely drain the battery of the implantable device, requiring recurrent replacement surgeries.

In contrast, industry partners and CSNE researchers are working towards 'closed loop' implantable devices that observe the brain and deliver any electrical stimulation only when it's required.

The funding initiated for CSNE will permit the experts to make progress in closed-loop neural interfaces and will help achieve this ambitious goal. Apart from this, NSF funding will also help the center to further expand its education programs for school teachers, K-12 students, veterans and undergraduates to other partner institutions. 

While the future looks bright for those with mobility impairment, the present is also not gloomy. Non-medical transportation facilities can be used to make travel easier and simpler for people suffering from temporary or permanent mobility impairments. 

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Exercising with Your Disability

Everyone, irrespective of their disabilities or health conditions, profits from daily exercise. Before you begin an exercise regimen, make sure you speak with your doctor and create a program that is well suited to your specific need and situation. Make it a point to incorporate flexibility exercises, aerobic exercises, and strength-building within your routine. Work with Your Doctor: For creating the best program, make sure you work with your physician. Everyone has a different health and exercise need and your disability will impact the way you exercise. Certain exercises can worsen some conditions, while others may be extremely advantageous. Speak to your doctor and discuss the right exercises. For instance, water exercises are normally recommended for those suffering from fibromyalgia. Attend Physical Therapy Sessions for Learning the Right Techniques: It is important to keep a good form when you exercise. This can be particularly significant if you suffer from a disability. Physi

Has Age Affected Your Driving?

For almost everyone, driving is an essential part of life. The ability to go where you want, when you want to, is important, but perhaps even more so is the feeling of independence that it creates. As long as we feel we can function independently, we are strong and confident. Take away this feeling of independence, and we feel weakened and insecure because we are dependent on others to take us where we want or need to go. Buses, taxis, and subways may not be workable alternatives because of mobility or other age-related problems, and the passenger does not feel he’s in control he when he’s not driving. This is something that many seniors feel when they stop driving . While there is no defined age at which a person must stop driving, there is no denying that increasing years and health issues affect a person’s ability to drive. The eyesight, strength, and reflexes of an 80 years old are not the same as when he/she was 18. Going to the DMV and getting a driving license renewed

Is Non-Emergency Medical Transport the Right Choice?

Healthcare is essential for every section of the population. However, certain sections of the population face transportation issues and have trouble getting to their important medical appointments on time. Some depend on friends and family or local organizations for transport while others have to drive on their own. If transport options are limited, non-emergency medical transportation can help fill the void. Listed below are a few scenarios where NEMT is useful. Read Also:  Different Types of Non-Emergency Medical Transportation and Their Benefits For Regular Check-Ups It is not just a vulnerable demographic that is affected. Someone who is usually healthy enough to drive around but is waylaid temporarily due to a surgery or an acute injury may require non-emergency medical transportation. Patients who are recovering from surgery are not allowed to drive till they are cleared by their doctors, this is true even if the surgical treatment did not invol