In the United States, more than 280,000 people—including 42,000 military veterans—are affected by spinal cord injury (SCI), including limb weakness and paralysis. While rehabilitation can be helpful, the benefits are slow and inadequate to restore patients’ lost independence. A team of researchers at Cleveland Clinic is trying to speed recovery using noninvasive brain stimulation.
Ela B. Plow, PhD, PT, of Cleveland Clinic’s Lerner Research Institute, recently received a four-year, $2.5 M award from the Department of Defense (DoD) to lead a brain stimulation study in patients with paralyzed upper limbs due to SCI. The award was granted under the DoD’s Spinal Cord Injury Research Program.
Instead of swiping with a finger, the technology lets users control the device with small head movements or voice commands. The technology can help people who are paralyzed or have limited mobility due to neurodegenerative diseases such as MS, ALS or spinal cord injuries.
BALTIMORE (AP) — A day after Oded Ben Dov appeared on Israeli television to promote his video game technology, which allowed players to control their games by moving their heads, a viewer called him with another suggestion for the software.
“I can’t move my arms or legs,” the viewer told him. “Can you make a smartphone that I can use?”
For quadriplegics, life can be extremely isolated. Those without the ability to control their arms, legs or head must rely entirely on a caregiver to move, or even turn around, their wheelchair.
One cause of quadriplegia is the neurodegenerative disease ALS, which afflicts an estimated 12,000 to 15,000 in the U.S., according to the CDC.
Because the disease is progressive, those afflicted can go from having completely normal motor control to being fully quadriplegic without the ability to talk, in the span of just a few years. Previously having the ability to move independently can make the loss of movement even more difficult for those with ALS.
Every morning, Brian Keefer looks up at the framed words of encouragement covering his bedroom wall, and he smiles.
“Brian, you keep smiling because that’s what makes you so special! … Keep believing that you can fly!” one says.
“You’re my hero and inspiration,” reads another.
Those notes, written by friends and family, are Keefer’s favorite part of the room “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” built for him in 2011.
Todd Stabelfeldt is a pretty chill dude. He lives 90 minutes from Seattle by ferry, in a home with his wife and occasionally two stepkids. He runs a consultancy for healthcare databases, but once considered becoming a comedian. He’s a dog person.
Stabelfeldt also happens to be quadriplegic. He’s been paralyzed from the neck down for more than 30 years.
And because of that, Stabelfeldt has a unique relationship with technology — not unique for him and his crew, which goes by “The Quad Squad,” but unique for many people who are able-bodied.
With hard work and ingenuity, three VCU occupational therapy students devised a swiveling computer table that will help Derrick Bayard increase his independence.
Before dawn on Aug. 8, Derrick Bayard began having severe pain in his abdomen, followed by body spasms. Soon after, it became hard to breathe. He was home alone, a detail made exponentially more important — and dangerous — by the fact that he’s a quadriplegic, unable to use his hands and feet.
Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) patients come to Burke’s inpatient acute rehabilitation program directly from the hospital/trauma center where they were treated and stabilized to prevent further damage to the spinal cord. Once at Burke, an intensive rehabilitation phase begins.
Physical therapy is crucial at this stage, because many of the gains the patient will make in movement happen during this time. Strengthening muscles and improving flexibility shapes the individual’s ability to make ongoing progress afterwards.
EVA FACIAL MOUSE is an application developed and promoted by CREA with the support of Fundación Vodafone España.
EVA FACIAL MOUSE is a free and open source application that allows the access to functions of a mobile device by means of tracking the user face captured through the frontal camera. Based on the movement of the face, the app allows the user to control a pointer on the screen (i.e., like a mouse),which provides direct access to most elements of the user interface.
People with amputations, cerebral palsy, spinal cord injury, muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) or other disabilities may be beneficiaries of this app.
The nonprofit Independence Fund gave Nels Hadden an all-terrain wheelchair Tuesday.
Nels Hadden may not be able to move his arms or legs, but he can still take down a deer with a crossbow.
There’s no magic spell or use of the Force, just the power of technology that lets quadriplegic men and women do things that would have been impossible years ago.
On any given day up to 25 individuals with varied disabilities are hard at work in the EP!C Hub computer lab in Peoria, earning a paycheck and cultivating independence thanks to assistive technology.
The Hub has a variety of adaptive equipment, including specialized keyboards and screen-reading software. Hub workers with disabilities design and print flyers, posters and calendars; create business cards; and even make and sell their own greeting cards.
“Technology definitely helps them to work and live a more rewarding fulfilling productive life. Because a lot of them have those abilities; they just need a little bit of assistance,” said Lauren Coyle, EP!C’s director of specialized programs.