Spinal cord injuries can be life-altering, but there is some good news in the world of technology. According to the news, robotics and virtual reality are being used to help heal spinal cord injuries. With landmark studies and high-tech solutions becoming more common, these kinds of treatments should be something you consider before you take a settlement. You’ll want to make sure you have enough to try the treatments that can help you most.
How can virtual reality and brain-controlled robotics help you if you suffer from paralysis? It’s believed that by using this technology, you can reactivate the nerves in the body and regain at least some muscle control and feeling.
This is a breakthrough in spinal cord injury care. A U.S.-Brazilian study has shown that when the technology is combined with an intensive long-term training regimen, the technology could stimulate changes internally in patients. These changes may stimulate the rehabilitation of damaged nerves.
One amazing story from the study is of a woman who had been paralyzed for over a decade. By the end of training for 13 months, she was again able to move her legs on her own.
How does it work? Using a “brain machine,” participants try to manipulate an image of their legs to move. Initially, patients with paralysis are unable to make the legs in the image move, but over time, and with several months of practice, the area of the brain associated with movement and walking started to become active again.
Once this was done, the participants could move to equipment controlled by the electroencephalogram cap. Wearing a robotic exoskeleton, they received feedback as they walked, like vibrations or pressure waves. While the illusion only feels like they’re walking great distances without the assistance of devices, it’s believed that the brain and spinal cord regain plasticity when being stimulated in this manner.
Source: FT.com, “Robotics and VR help heal spinal injuries,” Clive Cookson, Aug. 11, 2016