Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Overcoming Paralysis

        In the United States today there are more than 5 million people who suffer some type of paralysis from monoplegia, where only one part of the body is effected, to quadriplegia, where all four limbs are effected. The mental toll of learning to live with paralysis knowing there's no cure can be devastating.
        However, there have been some new developments in terms of treatment with the most recent being a chip which is implanted in the brain to read brain signals. Those signals are then interpreted by a computer and a sleeve, fitted with 130 different electrodes, is able to stimulate different muscles in the arm causing them to contract. Ian Burkhart became paralyzed at age 18 after a serious car accident and had no use of his arms or legs for nearly six years. After undergoing this procedure, was able to regain some control of motion in his right hand to the point where he could move large objects, pour the contents of a glass and swipe a credit card among other things. Ian is hopeful that one day he will have full range of motion in both his hands using this new technology.
        While this isn't a "cure" for paralysis other technological workarounds already exists giving those who are paralyzed some degree of movement back. In 2012 a women was able to control a robotic arm with only her thoughts. With advancements like these it isn't crazy to think that, sometime in the near future, we could see new technology that allows those who are paralyzed to regain function of their limbs and improve their overall quality of life.

-Cole DiStasio (Group 1)


  1. The future for people who are paralyzed is looking very bright. I was just reading the other day about another technology that was being developed. It basically was a node that had the same consistency as tissue, as to not cause inflammation or rejection, and it was implanted into the area in the spine where the signal was getting lost. It then served to bridge the signal with impulses.

    commented by Nick Michienzi

  2. My uncle is a paralyzed person and I know what does it mean to be paralyzed.
    I heard about similar case in the past days where brain stimulation in a spinal cord injured patient resulted in limb sensation and fingers movement. I hope that with more researches, cure for paralyzed people will be found and their suffer would be relieved.

    Mohammed Saleh