Paraplegics Moving Again - The Mind Machine Balance

October 11, 2016, Kitchener, Ontario

Posted by: Robert Deutschmann, Personal Injury Lawyer

Image result for dr nicolelis exoskeletonThe rate of advancement in mind/machine connections is amazing. We once thought that the ‘Borg’ in Star Trek were pure fantasy, the connection of computers, machines, directly into our brains and the ability to interact them. Now we see how close we are to the future being here.

The amount of money being poured into helping paraplegics and quadriplegics has been steadily large, and together with the advancements in technology, this has resulted in stunning advancements in treatments for disabled people. What has been known for a long time is that if the brain is fully functioning and the injury to the body falls somewhere in the ‘communication’ system between the brain and the body, then we should be able to repair the pathways.

Researchers have been connecting brains to technology, hardware and software, to enable people to regain movement. What has recently been discovered is that by creating these machine/brain connections we can help paralyzed people actually rewire their brains to help them move again. A leader in this field of brain/machine connectivity is Dr. Miguel Nicolelis in Brazil. He is an expert in neuroprosthetics and is researching an ‘integrative approach to studying neurological disorder including Parkinson’s and epilepsy’.

Through his recent research into the long-term rehabilitation of chronic paraplegic patients he has made tremendous advancements in the field and has provided hope for the millions of people world wide who have become paralyzed through accidents like spinal cord injury. His Walk Again Project demonstrated a young Brazilian man’s ability to walk again when he delivered the opening kick off at the June 2014 World Cup of Soccer.

Now two years later Dr. Nicolelis has published his first clinical report which details the discovery that patients who continued to train their brains and bodies with a motorized exoskeleton have regained some ability to move and fell in previously paralysed limbs. This despite previous diagnosis of complete spinal cord injury. The study also reports:

“The patients also regained important degrees of bladder and bowel control, and improved their  cardiovascular function, which in one case resulted in a significant reduction in hypertension. As such, this is the first study to report that long-term BMI use may lead to significant recovery of neurological functions in patients suffering from severe spinal cord injuries.”

The limits of the technology, and the limits to recovery have not yet been established, but they believe that these results should change the rehab practices in paraplegics moving forward. It should also proved a great deal of hope for those paralysed that they may be able to live a much more independent and fulfilling life.

Posted under Disability Insurance, Personal Injury, Quadriplegia

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About Deutschmann Law

Deutschmann Law serves South-Western Ontario with offices in Kitchener-Waterloo, Cambridge, Woodstock, Brantford, Stratford and Ayr. The law practice of Robert Deutschmann focuses almost exclusively in personal injury and disability insurance matters. For more information, please visit or call us toll-free at 1-866-414-4878.

The opinions expressed here, while intended to provide useful information, should not be interpreted as legal recommendations or advice.

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