Saturday, March 25, 2017

Cheering on Ty-Juan

Good for Ty-Juan!  For two years, this ten-year-old has been working hard at physical therapy to recover from a spinal cord injury.  Now he's taking steps.  Take a look at his progress.  It's much more difficult than it looks.  

Friday, March 17, 2017

A Note on Exosuits

Curious about exoskeletons?  This article is a worthy source, with links and basic information about emerging models and the companies designing them.  As you can see, some people are actually taking exoskeletons home now.

Tom Looby of Ekso Bionics makes a good point in the article.  Commenting on the Kessler Foundation's findings that exosuits help with walking "faster and farther," Looby states,
"Why do steps matter?  Repetition."  He explains that those who leave rehab with more capability may live healthier, longer lives, with reduced healthcare costs.

I think that "repetition" is a great answer for another reason: the prospect of unexpected physical recovery linked to rebuilding neural pathways or achieving more muscle memory.  And as more people can work with bionic legs and exoskeletons in unconventional settings, we have the chance to find out!

Friday, March 10, 2017

Older Work with KAFOs

During my time with heavy long-legged KAFOs (Knee-Ankle-Foot Orthoses), I saw increasing ability and strength over time.  I began with locked braces that did not allow any knee flexion.  The locks were eventually able be disengaged and later removed altogether.  One of the big signs of progress was being able to reliably step up a curb and then back down again without any help.  Hopefully these older videos from May 2015 will encourage someone else, too!

Friday, March 3, 2017

Two Be Continued? Two Studies, Two Treatments

Two links with two angles for SCI research:

One article describes the "Neuro-Spinal Scaffold," an innovation of InVivo Therapeutics.  Designed specifically for thoracic injuries and to be implanted immediately after the injury, a scaffold inserted inside the spinal cord apparently works against the development of harmful scar tissue.

The second article is about a limited stimulation treatment study conducted at the BioMag Laboratory (Helsinki University Hospital).  Successful ongoing application suggests that it may help with regaining movement, even two years after the injury.

A big point here is that the different methods involve very different time periods.  Scaffolding is being tried soon after the injury.  Stimulation, much later.  And both show some promise - hopefully similar updates to come soon.