Saturday, July 12, 2014

Just Think

Last Sunday the Minneapolis StarTribune published an article in their science+health section entitled "THE POWER OF THOUGHT" and addressed the issue of spinal cord injuries and implanting a computer chip in the skull of a young man enabling him to think and move his paralyzed arm.

I have always said, "I know they will find a way for people with spinal cord injuries to regain the function of their paralyzed limbs." Actually, I believe it was more like, they will find a way for us to walk again!

The article was originally published in the Washington Post and was written by Jim Tankersley. They talked about the first patient trying to use a computer chip implanted in his brain at Ohio State Wexner Medical Center. It was invented by scientists at Battelle, a nonprofit, research organization.

From what I gathered from the article, they needed to embed a chip into the brain that "reads" commands from the brain and transfers them to his arm, which is wrapped in a sleeve of electrodes around his arm and they stimulate the muscle fibers in his hand to move.

There are several pictures in the article and it is in the beginning stages, but doctors involved are very encouraged by their initial results. The idea of bypassing the spinal cord by using thought technology is still in its infancy. I am excited to see where it goes from here.

The subject of the article is four years post injury. From this article and other articles I have read, it is getting more and more to the point where the length of time between injury and actual retraining and reusing paralyze limbs is getting longer and longer.

This is just the latest article I have reviewed which discusses alternative ways doctors are attempting to get people with spinal cord injuries to be able to at least function at a somewhat higher level than they are today.

It would be wonderful to get to a point where I could use my hands on my own instead of having to use various assistive devices to help me function with my hands. That would just be the first step. I know processes like these take a long time. I also know there are several people studying various alternatives to getting spinal cord injured persons more function back. It is happening all over the world, and people are doing amazing things. This is just the latest, and who knows, possibly the greatest attempt at getting function to return.

There are always going to be very smart people working from different positions and different techniques trying to get people with spinal cord injuries to function at higher levels. That is the exciting part for me as I close in on forty-three years of living with my injury.

One of the things it frustrates me is when I am constantly told we just have not seen that Mike, because most spinal cord injuries do not live as long as you have! Right now, the record for longevity after a spinal cord injury I know of is fifty-one years. That is not long enough. I want to see more than that. I am sure there are a number of other people out there who feel the same way I do.

I look forward to your comments.




Roger said...

I keep watching the research notices and expect to see your photo as one of the forerunners of electronically assisted movement. I think you will live to, at the very least, be involved in some groundbreaking trials in this area. I'm still watching!

Colleen said...

Good blog, Mike! As you know I also follow anything new in Research and any advancements the medical field may have came up with. HOPE is the derivative word here I guess, they are working diligently on all facets of the problem... For those in the throes of dealing with these injuries, it may seem progress is way to slow BUT progress is being made.. We have to be patient although that gets to be very difficult many times. GOTTA KEEP ON. KEEPING ON!

Leon R said...

That would be so cool for you Mike. I pray it happens.

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Earl Hipp said...

Not surprised to hear that you're a record-setter Mike. I'm guessing it's because of your great attitude and the simple fact that the world still needs the message you bring . . . in person and by your example. Keep on indeed!

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