Stories in this section focus on progress being made in the fields of science and technology.
Paraplegic man stands and steps with assistance and moves his
legs voluntarily Rob Summers, a 25-year-old Portland, Oregon man, who was paralyzed below his chest with a C7/T1 injury as a result of a car accident, is standing and stepping with assistance, and voluntarily moving his legs for the first time since his injury. This breakthrough is a result of thirty years of focused scientific research and the unshakeable belief of people like you that we can find treatments and cures for spinal cord injury paralysis.
In this study, continual direct epidural electrical stimulation to the subject’s lower spinal cord mimics the signals his brain would normally send to initiate movement. This coupled with intense locomotor training is responsible for Mr. Summers’s unprecedented functional recovery.
Mr. Summers is able to stand supplying the muscular push himself, and remain standing, bearing his full weight for up to four minutes at a time and up to an hour with periodic assistance. In addition to some functional recovery, relief from some of the secondary complications of complete spinal cord injury (for example, loss of bladder and sexual function) could be even more significant. Aided by a harness and some therapist assistance, he can make repeated stepping motions on a treadmill. He can also voluntarily move his toes, ankles, knees and hips on command.
This study comes from an 11-member research team led by Susan Harkema, Ph.D. of the University of Louisville and V. Reggie Edgerton, Ph.D. of UCLA. The results are published in the May 20th edition of the British medical journal, The Lancet.
Learn more about the study.
But what Christopher Reeve proclaimed more than a decade ago is being proven true today.
Nothing is impossible. Life-changing treatments are within our sights. Where it leads and how it impacts the more than five million Americans living with paralysis is just a matter of time and money. I hope you will take a few moments to learn more about this breakthrough and join all of us in celebrating this important day.
Israeli scientists devise way for disabled to control computers & wheelchairs – by sniffing
By Thomas H. Maugh II
Feb. 11, 2011, http://www.JewishWorldReview.com (MCT)
The severely disabled, including those “locked in” to their bodies as a result of accidents or disease, may soon have a new way to communicate and move around, Israeli scientists said Monday. By sniffing in and out through their noses, more than a dozen quadriplegics were able to control computers that allowed them to write and to guide a wheelchair, the team reported in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
The technology relies on the fact that quadriplegics and others retain control of their soft palettes, which regulate breathing through the nose. Even people who are not able to breathe on their own can control the new device by blocking and releasing the flow of air forced through their noses by a pump. The technology “may provide a host of viable solutions for the growing population of individuals who are severely disabled,” the team wrote.
The device “is pretty ingenious in giving people who can’t control their environment
another way to do that,” said Dr. Adam Stein, chair of physical medicine and rehabilitation at North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System in Great Neck, N.Y. It would be particularly valuable for people who have locked-in syndrome, in which they can do little more than flutter an eye, he said. For many other patients, however, alternatives exist, including controlling devices through a breathing tube or with their tongue.
The mechanism is actually relatively simple. Small tubes inserted in the nose monitor
sniffs and exhalations, allowing the user to control a computer. To control a wheelchair, for example, two short sniffs signal “forward,” while two short exhalations signal “back.”
An exhale followed by a sniff signals “left,” while a sniff followed by an exhale signals
“right.” Similar protocols move a cursor on a computer screen for writing.
Neurobiologist Noam Sobel of the Weizmann Institute of Science in Tel Aviv and his
colleagues initially studied the device in 96 healthy people, demonstrating that they could control the movement of a cursor with it as easily as they could with a joystick or mouse.
About one in four could not work the device properly, however.
The team then installed the device on a wheelchair and demonstrated, first with healthy people, then with disabled, that it could be used to navigate a 150-foot obstacle course with sharp turns and other impediments. Overall, the device has now been tested successfully in 15 severely disabled patients. The Weizmann Institute has filed for a patent on the technology used in the device and hopes to find a marketing partner.
Workplace Personal Assistance Services (PAS) for people with disabilities makes productive employment possible
A recent study published in the Journal of Rehabilitation supports the proposition that individual workplace accommodations for users of Personal Assistance Services (PAS) had a positive effect on the users’ perception of their ability to perform essential job functions.
When rating their own functional ability, the participants used a five-point scale with “1” being “Not Limited at All” and “5” as “Substantially Limited.” The findings indicated that for people with disabilities considered or implemented PAS accommodations, their self perception of work ability increased from being “Substantially Limited” when no accommodation was offered to “Not Limited at All” with accommodations.
Accommodations make a difference. Once implemented, workers’ perceptions of their
own functional abilities increase. Though only a small proportion of employees with
disabilities require PAS, effective PAS can be vital for them. View the entire report, at
Vehicle Production Group Starts Production of MV-1®
Thursday, August 18, 2011
MIAMI–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The Vehicle Production Group LLC (VPG) announced the start of production for the “First Mobility Vehicle”, MV-1, the first and only factory-built and assembled vehicle which meets or exceeds the vehicle guidelines of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The MV-1 will be available in either gasoline or Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) powertrains. Deliveries to customers will begin by the end of September 2011.
Fred Drasner, Chairman of VPG, said “We are proud to be the first manufacturer to provide people with mobility issues a purpose-built vehicle that meets the same expectations that all new car buyers have; ease of entry and exit, an exceptional ride, state of the art technology and unprecedented reliability, quality and durability.” The MV-1 is being assembled at the AM General Commercial Assembly Plant in Mishawaka, Indiana. Rick Smith, PresidentCommercial Business for AM General, expressed his enthusiasm; “AM General’s workforce is eager to begin production and be part of the MV-1 story. We believe the MV-1 will very quickly become an iconic vehicle setting a new standard against which all other paratransit vehicles will be measured.”
The MV-1 features a 56-inch high by 36-inch wide side door opening for easy wheelchair or motorized scooter entry and exit via a wide deployable ramp with a 1200 pound capacity that quickly and easily stores beneath the floor inside the vehicle. The vehicle’s ramp is available in either a manual or powered version. The MV-1 can accommodate a passenger in a wheelchair and another five occupants, with an optional rear facing jump seat.
Go Green with Optional CNG
The MV-1 is also the only ADA compliant vehicle with a CNG fuel delivery system option.
Since the system is factory installed, the MV-1 with the CNG option meets all government safety and crash test requirements and maintains the same durability, reliability and quality as the gasoline-powered vehicle, while reducing operating expenses. The CNG fuel system delivers an estimated 290-mile range by virtue of three lightweight tanks seamlessly integrated into the vehicle’s design, providing customers with a more cost effective and environmentally conscious ownership option without sacrificing significant driving range.
About The Vehicle Production Group LLC
VPG is headquartered in Miami, Florida. Additional details regarding the company or the MV1, including its pricing, specifications and available options can be found at the company’s website at www.vpgautos.com or call 1-877-MV1-FORU (1-877-681-3678).
Mark Weynands | firstname.lastname@example.org |786-230-2111.
About AM General LLC
AM General designs, engineers, manufactures, supplies and supports specialized vehicles for commercial and military customers. AM General has more than six decades of experience meeting the changing needs of the defense and automotive industries.
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