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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Advances in Technology

Advances in Technology Assist Treatment for Injuries of the Spinal Cord

Advances in technology have enriched the lives of so many disabled individuals, especially in recent years. Consider advances in wheelchair technology, prosthetics, and hearing aids. Add to this list a new rehab glove that assists in treatment for injuries of the spinal cord.

According to a recent article, a research team from Georgia Tech has been working on a rehab glove that is already showing effectiveness for people with limited hand motor skills and proprioception due to spinal injury. The electronic Mobile Music Touch (MMT) glove works with a piano and vibrates individual fingers to point to which keys should be pressed.

Using the MMT, people in the study practiced playing the piano for thirty minutes three times a week, and followed up with the glove but without the piano (air piano?), and saw considerable improvement at a time when traditional therapy is usually no longer effective.

In the study, participants performed a variety of common grasping and sensation tests to measure their improvement. Results found that those who used the MMT system performed significantly better than those who just learned the piano normally.

Recovery from spinal cord injuries can be difficult and time-consuming, so any advances in technology directed toward treatment for injuries of the spinal cord is certainly exciting news!

Treatment for Spinal Cord Injuries

There are a number of current treatment programs, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke

  • Improved emergency care for people with spinal cord injuries and aggressive treatment and rehabilitation can minimize damage to the nervous system and even restore limited abilities.
  • Respiratory complications are often an indication of the severity of spinal cord injury. About one-third of those with injury to the neck area will need help with breathing and require respiratory support.
  • The steroid drug methylprednisolone appears to reduce the damage to nerve cells if it is given within the first 8 hours after injury.
  • Rehabilitation programs combine physical treatment for injuries with skill-building activities and counseling to provide social and emotional support.
  • Electrical simulation of nerves by neural prosthetic devices (see advances in technology as mentioned above) may restore specific functions, including bladder, breathing, cough, and arm or leg movements, though eligibility for use of these devices depends on the level and type of the spinal cord injury.

Common kinds of spinal cord injuries include:

  • A broken back
  • A fractured vertebra
  • A herniated disk
  • Compression (pressure on the spine)
  • Contusion (spinal bruising)
  • Loss of ability to function sexually
  • Loss of bladder control
  • Loss of bowel control
  • Paralysis
  • Paraplegia
  • Quadriplegia
  • Spinal fractures

Additional problems include:

  • Respiratory problems, bedsores, severe depression, and emotional trauma are a few of the effects that can result from a spinal cord injury.
  • Common tasks, such as getting out of bed or walking across the room can become extremely painful-even impossible-when you have a spinal cord injury.

It can be especially traumatic to have your injury occur in an accident that was someone else’s fault. Additionally, recovery from a spinal cord injury can be long and costly.

Unfortunately, while many people with a spinal injury can recover after a period of proper treatment and therapy, there are those who will never recover, despite treatment for injuries and advances in technology. These individuals may be forever confined to a wheelchair or bed, and require medical care for life. A good personal injury law firm that understands the nature of spinal cord injuries and the complexities of SCI cases can help you demand the maximum recovery possible from any liable parties so that you can afford to get the care that you require.

Contact Malman Law, toll-free 1-(888) 625-6265 or fill out our free online consultation. Request a Free Spinal Cord Injury Case Evaluation.

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