Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Breakthrough gives spinal injury sufferers a standing start

16.01.2003


For the first time, engineers have enabled paralysed people to stand up and balance for significant periods without holding an external support. This is an important breakthrough in helping individuals with spinal cord injuries to start standing again for useful lengths of time – up to seven minutes have been achieved in experiments.



The cutting-edge research project that achieved this advance was carried out by the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Glasgow with funding from the Swindon based Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council

The project focused on the development and evaluation of techniques that use low levels of pulsed electrical current to stimulate the nerves that control muscle movement. The current replaces signals from the brain, which do not reach the nerves on account of the spinal cord injury. This electrical stimulation makes the paralysed muscle contract and partially restores lost body functions.


The initiative has built on earlier work by the same research team – an acknowledged leader in the field and the first to demonstrate, in practice, unsupported standing for paraplegics. The challenge was to allow spinally-injured people to stand in a stable fashion for significant periods of time, without having to hold on to a frame or walker. The team has achieved this by stimulating the muscles controlling the ankle by an amount directly related to the person’s standing posture. For example, if the person leans further forward, the stimulation is automatically increased to push them back to a more upright position. This approach is known as feedback control.

The team is led by Professor Ken Hunt, Head of the University’s Centre for Rehabilitation Engineering. The research was carried out in close collaboration with the Queen Elizabeth National Spinal Injuries Unit at Glasgow’s Southern General Hospital. Professor Hunt says: “Enabling spinally-injured people to stand again and remain balanced for this amount of time represents major progress. This has never been achieved before in experiments with human subjects”.

Jane Reck | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://fesnet.eng.gla.ac.uk/CRE

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Millions through license revenues
27.04.2017 | Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn

nachricht New High-Performance Center Translational Medical Engineering
26.04.2017 | Fraunhofer ITEM

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Fighting drug resistant tuberculosis – InfectoGnostics meets MYCO-NET² partners in Peru

28.04.2017 | Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Wireless power can drive tiny electronic devices in the GI tract

28.04.2017 | Medical Engineering

Ice cave in Transylvania yields window into region's past

28.04.2017 | Earth Sciences

Nose2Brain – Better Therapy for Multiple Sclerosis

28.04.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>