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 New malaria analysis method reveals disease severity in minutes
14.08.2017 | University of British Columbia

nachricht New type of blood cells work as indicators of autoimmunity
14.08.2017 | Instituto de Medicina Molecular

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: Fizzy soda water could be key to clean manufacture of flat wonder material: Graphene

Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.

As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.

While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

A Map of the Cell’s Power Station

18.08.2017 | Life Sciences

Engineering team images tiny quasicrystals as they form

18.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Researchers printed graphene-like materials with inkjet

18.08.2017 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>