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Articles Tagged with spinal cord injury

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Spinal Cord InjurySpinal cord injuries result in damages that are  often irreversible or require patients to spend a very long time in a hospital setting for rehabilitation. Existing technologies used to rehab patients suffering from spinal cord injury are often heavy and can not be used in a home setting. However a recent headset prototype created by a Biomedical Engineering PhD student at the University of Glasgow,  brings new hope to spinal cord injury patients.

Nina Petric-Gray used 3D printing technology to produce a light electroencephalography (EEG) headset  designed to help restore hand functions. The headset sends low-energy electrical pulse to artificially generate body movement and record the electrical activity of the brain allowing long distance medical monitoring.

When she started her project, the PhD student modified gaming headsets, adding electrodes to record the brain activity. The prototype was heavy and uncomfortable. The student also found that it was difficult to accurately place the electrodes for optimal recording.  The idea was good but a real bespoke prototype needed to be created for this particular use. The student used a product design software to create a light usable prototype allowing for optimal electrode placement.  After the product design was finalized the student used 3D technology to bring it to life.  With 3D printing, there is no need for a mold anymore and every headset can be customized for each patient’s head with optimal electrodes placement.

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spinal cord injuryThe medical practice of trying to avoid scar formation at the site of a spinal cord injury may indeed not be correct. Every year approximately 12,500 American will suffer a spinal cord injury and an estimated 276,000 people in the US are suffering from long term effects related to this injury. For decades the prevailing medical dogma was that that scars were preventing neuronal regrowth across the injured area but a newly released study says it is actually the opposite that happens. Scar forming cells called astrocytes may actually help nerve regrowth.  A study recently published in Nature and authored by  Mark A. AndersonJoshua E. BurdaYilong RenYan AoTimothy M. O’SheaRiki KawaguchiGiovanni CoppolaBaljit S. KhakhTimothy J. Deming & Michael V. Sofroniew found that   “scars may be a bridge and not a barrier towards developing better treatments for paralyzing spinal cord injuries.”

Read more in Medical News Today

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Spinal%20Cord%20Injury.jpgAfter a spinal cord injury, the assumption that it takes years for degenerative changes in the spinal cord and the brain to happen is incorrect. A study from the University of Zurich, Uniklinik Balgrist, and University College London (UCL), demonstrates that anatomical changes in the spinal cord and brain above the injury site may occur within 40 days of acute spinal cord injury.

The researchers followed 13 patients with acute spinal cord injuries and used a new type of neuroimaging protocol that can measure the extent of tissue loss in the spinal cord and the brain. Because they can display the effects of spinal cord injury treatments on the central nervous system, new neuroimaging protocols will also be extremely valuable in clinical trials of new treatments.