At Murphy Battista LLP our primary focus is making sure that our clients get their lives back. In many cases, we are able to achieve this by ensuring that a client is adequately compensated by their insurer. Of course, regardless of the size of a negotiated settlement or court ordered award, there are instances where a personal injury continues to impact a client’s daily life. This is almost always the situation in the case of spinal cord injuries, where clients and their families must adjust to life in a wheelchair and other forms of ongoing care.
Last month we posted an article with a specific focus on SCI-BC: a non-profit organization that provides research, resources and outreach to people with spinal cord injuries. This month we decided to follow-up by detailing some of the innovations occurring in the world of spinal cord research.
At Murphy Battista LLP, we stay abreast of developments in different medical areas in order to provide our clients with up-to-date resources and to identify experts that can provide us with information on how best to adapt our services to each client’s specific needs. Of the many medical areas that we read about, few are as exciting as spinal cord research where recent innovations are adding a growing sense of hope to an area that has seen more than its fair share of tragedy. Many of these developments are years away from broad implementation but the research is engaging and we thought it worth sharing.
Lab Rats Walk Again
MIT’s Technology Review recently published an article focusing on the exciting research of Gregoire Courtine, a neuroscientist at the École Polytechnique Fédérale in Lausanne, Switzerland. Courtine’s focus is on using electronics to restore fluid, realistic movements to formerly paralyzed animals and is part of a wider effort to stimulate movement in paralyzed people by artificially sending electrical pulses to their spinal cords. Researchers at the University of Louisville and the University of California have already used this research to help four men regain modest movement in their legs, hips, ankles and toes.
The reason why Courtine’s work is exciting is because, thus far, a major limit to epidural stimulation is that electrical pulses cannot produce complex coordinated movement. Courtine’s system is a possible answer to this problem. More exciting still, Courtine’s team hopes to test the system in a human volunteer sometime next year. While by no means a cure, it is progress.
Canadian Medical Company Brings Hope to Stroke and Spinal Cord Patients
A little closer to home Myndtec, a Canadian medical technology company, launched its first commercial product described as a “revolutionary, new therapy for the treatment of arm and hand paralysis caused by stroke and spinal cord injury.” Myndmove, similar to Courtine’s research, uses electrical stimulation to create new neural pathways to motivate the return of voluntary function to the hands and arms following injury to the brain and spinal cord.
Myndtec is hopeful that Myndmove will provide increased independence to patients by allowing them to control their eating, grooming, dressing and bathing. This news is particularly exciting to Murphy Battista LLP as anything that helps our clients feel a renewed sense of self-sufficiency and hope is something that we can get behind.
Exoskeletons in Alberta
The Edmonton Journal recently posted an article online containing a video of Denny Ross, a man who lost mobility below his chest, following a motor vehicle accident four years ago, walking with some help from a ReWalk Robotics Exoskeleton. The skeleton provides powered hip and knee motion to people with paraplegia and is being used by the University of Alberta in a pilot study examining the effect that exoskeletons may have on the body’s neural pathways.
We hope this news provides inspiration to all our clients currently undergoing rehabilitation for spinal cord injury and we look forward to seeing the implementation of these exciting technologies in the future.