Thursday, July 27, 2017

Retraining the Brain

This scientific study indicates that re-routed nerve cells are able to reach muscles below the site of a spinal cord injury.  Rats treated with rehabilitation and serotonin regained reflexive movement in their hind legs.  Even though the spinal cord did not heal, other areas of the brain found new ways to work around the damage.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Another Approach

For many people, therapy after a spinal cord injury ends when insurance runs out.  The general belief is that there simply is not much recovery after a SCI.  If the expectation is that rehabilitation brings very little functional return, why pay for it?

Cayden Hoth’s story is a good case for thinking differently.  Cayden was paralyzed almost two years ago.  With support from the Falling Forward Foundation, he has been able to pursue therapy consistently since he was injured.  Falling Forward was started by Sam Porritt, who has worked hard to recover from his own spinal cord injury in 2011.  Like Sam, Cayden is back to walking again, and is even swimming and bowling.

How much more improvement could there be if the narrative were different and acknowledged that we don’t know individual outcomes, and that sometimes recovery is possible?  Thank you to the Falling Forward Foundation for helping Cayden’s family to find out.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Another Kind of Exoskeleton

A different type of exoskeleton today: Noonee's "chairless chair," designed for anyone who spends long days standing.  Basically, this is an external seating support with a long-lived battery.
Especially interesting to me is the fact that this exoskeleton represents a passive system.  It's wearable and does not hinder regular walking.  It also does not promote muscle atrophy.  The more an exoskeleton can respond to the user's movement and abilities, the less it takes away from normal muscle function or use.
The Chairless Chair is not a therapy tool.  I do not intend to promote it as a medical breakthrough or a rehabilitation device.  But technological advancements like these are worth watching.  Something to pay attention to as exoskeletons develop!

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Happy Independence Day

Happy Fourth of July!
Statistics from 2009 say that about 42,000 of the ~250,000 Americans with SCIs are veterans.
It is an ongoing sacrifice of personal independence for many of the veterans dealing with SCIs.  Please take time today to say thank you.