Healthcare Insider Blog

Increasing mobility in patients living with paralysis: Part 1

  • Healthcare Alvernia

Surgeons, engineers, researchers and physical therapists across the world are working hard to bring a more hopeful, mobile future to those with spinal cord injuries (SCI).  Earlier this year, two different breakthroughs were made that will be discussed in this two-part series.

In June, surgeons from Ohio State University and engineers from Battelle, the world’s largest nonprofit research and development organization, made medical history when a young individual with quadriplegia was able to move his hand for the first time in four years, with the help of a new technology called Neurobridge.

This technology, which uses a microchip that is implanted into the patient’s brain, translates brain activity into a message that the muscles will understand. The objective is to enable individuals with SCI to perform active, volitional movement. Although seemingly basic, performance of small hand movements are an essential part of an individual’s normal activities of daily living.

Rachelle Friedman, a speaker and ambassador for the SCI community and an individual with C6 quadriplegia herself, states,” one of the biggest misconceptions about people living with paralysis is that their number one wish is to walk.”” She comments, “People often tell me, ‘I will pray that you walk again some day!’ Well I seriously appreciate the sentiment but let’s work on hand function, triceps, abs, feeling and bladder/bowel function first,” said Friedman. “Those are the things that keep a quadriplegic dependent.”

Kim Anderson-Erisman, Ph.D., Director of Education at the Miami Project to Cure Paralysis, conducted a survey and found that in a population of 681 individuals with SCI (51% quadriplegic, 49% paraplegic), the top priority, in terms of improving quality of life, was regaining hand and arm function.

Physical therapists hope that with the help of technology and innovations such as Neurobridge, they will be able to create exercises for patients with SCI with the ultimate goal of helping them to regain muscle function and increase mobility so that they are able to achieve an optimal level of health and well-being.

 

Effective November 12, 2014, Alvernia University has been granted Candidate for Accreditation status by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (1111 North Fairfax Street, Alexandria, VA, 22314; phone: 703-706-3245; email: accreditation@apta.org<mailto:accreditation@apta.org>).  Candidacy is not an accreditation status nor does it assure eventual accreditation.  Candidate for Accreditation is a pre-accreditation status of affiliation with the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education that indicates the program is progressing toward accreditation.

Effective November 12, 2014, Alvernia University has been granted Candidate for Accreditation status by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (1111 North Fairfax Street, Alexandria, VA, 22314; phone: 703-706-3245; email: accreditation@apta.org). Candidacy is not an accreditation status nor does it assure eventual accreditation. Candidate for Accreditation is a pre-accreditation status of affiliation with the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education that indicates the program is progressing toward accreditation.

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