If you’ve suffered a spinal cord injury, knowing about updates in technology and research can help you decide if you want to seek out further treatments that could be beneficial to you. When you initially settle your case, you’ll want to consider requesting enough funds to be able to enroll in these new programs and to work with the latest medical technology; the right treatments to help you heal could be only years away, and you should have the right to access them.
One new technology that’s being considered is a mobility device. The devices are implanted and are designed to send signals to regions of the body and back to the brain. Essentially, the implant will be your spinal cord.
This is still very new technology, so it’s not yet in use, but researchers are hoping for the best. The National Science Foundation has funded the project and awarded $16 million over the course of four years to the Center for Sensorimotor Neural Engineering to further research on these implantable devices that could help those with paralysis use their bodies once again.
Currently, those with spinal cord injuries have few options. Once nerves are damaged or die in the body, there’s no way to repair or replace them. The body may heal somewhat on its own, but on the whole, doctors can only work to minimize the impact of damage to the spinal cord. With this new technology, the goal is to achieve proof-of-concept within five years; that could be as early as 2021. Eventually, this could lead to a device for anyone with a spinal injury, so he or she can walk or move his or her body again.
Source: UW Today, “UW center receives $16M to work on first implantable device to reanimate paralyzed limbs,” Jennifer Langston, accessed Jan. 22, 2016