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Thread: Research by professor may help paralysis victims

  1. #1
    Senior Member Jeremy's Avatar
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    Jul 2001

    Research by professor may help paralysis victims

    Research by professor may help paralysis victims

    By Eric Rowley
    Daily Staff Writer
    July 17, 2003

    The ability to move paralyzed limbs due to spinal cord injury may be just around the corner, thanks to research being conducted at Iowa State.

    Jason Gillette, assistant professor of health and human performance, is researching electrical stimulation systems that could be used by physical therapists to activate muscles that have been paralyzed.

    Gillette began researching spinal cord injuries at the University of Kentucky four years ago.

    "[Spinal cord injuries] strike people of all ages," Gillette said.

    More than 450,000 people are affected with spinal cord injuries in the United States, and this research will affect a wide population, he said.

    Ashley Lerch, sophomore in genetics, has been in a wheelchair since age three, when her spine was injured in a farm accident.

    "I fell off my dad's tractor, and it ran over me," Lerch said. "Three days after being hospitalized, a blood clot formed my in spinal cord, which is why I have the injury."

    Gillette saw two primary cases while researching at the University of Kentucky where people were able to move limbs they have not been able to move before.

    In the first case, the person was able to stand with the assistance of a walker after an accident involving an all-terrain vehicle 14 years ago, he said.

    The other individual had a horse roll over him during a riding accident.

    "To be able to see someone stand again makes this type of research rewarding," Gillette said. "It's a really amazing thing."

    The first time a patient stands up is very exciting, he said.

    Being able to stand would completely change her life, Lerch said.

    "At my apartment all the cabinets are really high, so I always have to have someone there to get stuff down for me," Lerch said. "Being able to stand would be a whole new world."

    This research will also help reconnect muscles that have not been used and rebuild muscle mass. The ultimate goal is the find a practical use for this outside the laboratory, he said. Lerch said this type of research will greatly help people who are paralyzed.

    Right now the stimulation can be run from a laptop, which is a bit bulky, Gillette said.

    Gillette said he wants to get something smaller, such a personal digital assistant, to run the program.

    "I try to find out what functions are possible to develop an off-the-shelf product," Gillette said.


  2. #2
    This is News? The same thing was done by Jerrold Petrofsky back in 1982. Where have these people been?

    "Life is about how you
    respond to not only the
    challenges you're dealt but
    the challenges you seek...If
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    mountains to climb, your
    soul dies".~Liz Fordred

  3. #3
    Senior Member Leo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2001
    Yankton, South Dakota
    Curtis, They probably know what's going on. IMO It seems like the more I've learned we have researchers that got headed in one direction and just won't change. Problem is they must be darn good at grant writing, which yes I know they have to be, so the problem must be in the FDA, and don't forget the politics of everything. It just bites. eh

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