Happy 131st Birthday FDR!

How does a great leader approach a serious mobility issue? To find out, I took a look at one of the most famous disabled of all time: Franklin Delano Roosevelt. FDR contracted polio the same year I was born. Until my research, I never realized his circumstances shared many similarities with my own. Of course, I most likely will never be presidential material and I wasn't fully diagnosed with multiple sclerosis until I was 73. FDR, on the other hand, was paralyzed at 39 while campaigning for the office.  But the actual details, many evident in the new movie Hyde Park on the Hudson, were largely unpublicized. FDR was paralyzed from the waist down. Though I am not paralyzed myself, we both have the similar bowel and urinary issues, [...]

Eye-Tracking Technology to Keep an Eye on

Assistive technologies are making daily mundane tasks that many take for granted a whole lot easier for the disabled and mobility-challenged. The overall goal for researchers that work on these technologies is to help the client achieve more independence. Imagine trying to use a computer without the use of your arms and hands. How would you control the mouse and keyboard? That's the problem that Tobii Rex and eyeCan are currently trying to fix. Tobii Rex With the Tobii Rex, you can control the cursor using just your eyes. Currently, the user must click a button on the keyboard in order for the device to “click” what you’re looking at; however, the technology is still quite impressive, and I’m sure accessibility can only get [...]

Nerve Stimulation: Future Cure for Paralysis?

Similar to our last post on paralyzed dogs regaining mobility, today’s featured article is about restoring functionality after spinal injury. US News Health ran an article a couple of weeks ago on a small study performed by stimulating nerves in the brain and wrist. In this study, the stimulation of nerves allowed temporarily increased hand movement in those with partial spinal cord injuries. While the study focused on short-term effects, researchers are hoping that these findings can help open doors in terms of regaining better hand mobility after cervical spine injuries. The cervical spine is the upper portion of the spinal cord, and damage to this area can often times cause partial or full impairment in the hands and arms. The [...]

Paralyzed Dogs Regain Mobility After Cambridge Study

In a new study, thirty four pet dogs with paralysis in their hind legs were given the chance to hopefully walk again. ABC News reports in this article that olfactory “ensheathing” cells were extracted from the dogs’ noses and then implanted into their spines. While not too much is known about why this worked as well as it did, something about these regenerative cells helped to restore mobility to the dogs’ legs. In one of the subjects, the dog was only able to walk on a treadmill using his front legs as his hind legs hung limply. Three months after the treatment, he was able to walk on all legs using the harness for support, and after another three months, he was able to walk without the harness altogether. Much more research [...]