Chocolate Eater Makes Medical History

A 52 year old woman, named Jan  Scheuermann, ate chocolate after a brain operation. So what? One might ask. However this simple act made history because Jan is paralyzed from the neck down

Originally diagnosed with a degenerative brain disorder 13 years prior  doctors implanted tiny electrodes in her brain which allowed her to operate a robotic  arm.

Jan’s ultimate wish was  to feed herself chocolate once the electrodes had been in place.

Doctors, led by Professor Andrew Schwartz of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, applauded her feat.

The arm is a  prosthetic controlled directly by the brain and  this achievement marked a major step for people who are unable to move their own arms.

“Our study has shown us that it is technically feasible to restore ability and gives patients hope for the future”, said Dr. Schwartz.

The two  microelectrodes were implanted into Jan’s left motor cortex. This is the part of the brain that initiates movement.

A scanning technique called ”functional magnetic resonance imaging” (fMRI) located the  part of the brain that lights up when the patient is asked to think about moving her paralyzed arms.

The electrodes were connected to the robotic hand through a computer which ran an  algorithm to translate the signals that imitates the way an unimpaired brain is able to control healthy limbs.

Decoding human motion has no limit now. It is quite complex when one works on parts like the hand for example, but  once the desired motion is tapped  how that motion will be effected has a wide range of possibilities according to the medical researchers.

For those brain injured patients that still have arm mobility the ARMTUTOR and HANDTUTOR offer an effective physical therapy solution.

The ARMTUTOR and HANDTUTOR systems have been developed to allow for functional rehabilitation of the upper extremity including the shoulder, elbow and wrist. The system consists of an ergonomic wearable glove and arm brace together with dedicated rehabilitation software. The ARMTUTOR and HANDTUTOR systems allow the physical and occupational therapist to report on and evaluate the patient’s functional rehabilitation progress. This allows the PT and OT to prescribe the correct customized and motivating intensive exercise practice to the manual rehabilitation therapy. Intensive repetition of movement is achieved through  challenging games set to the patient’s  ability. The system provides detailed exercise performance instructions and precise feedback on the patient’s efforts. Controlled exercise of multijoints within the normal movement pattern prevents the development of undesired and compensatory joint movement and ensures better performance of functional tasks. Telerehabilitation allows the recovering patient to continue his physical therapy at home. The system is used by many leading rehabilitation centers worldwide and has full FDA and CE certification.

See WWW.MEDITOUCH.CO.IL  for more information.


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