New ‘wheelchair’…that is..an alternative..

I saw this yesterday on TV..and I was really pleased to hear about this invention.. here is the news from BBC.. the video can be found here:robo-skeleton

Robo-skeleton lets paralysed walk

ReWalk device

Radi Kaiof has been paralysed for the last 20 years

A robotic suit is helping people paralysed from the waist down do what was previously considered impossible – stand, walk and climb stairs.

ReWalk users wear a backpack device and braces on their legs and select the activity they want from a remote control wrist band.

Leaning forwards activates body sensors setting the robotic legs in motion.

Users walk with crutches, controlling the suit through changes in centre of gravity and upper body movements.

The device effectively mimics the exoskeletion of a crab.

Former Israeli paratrooper Radi Kaiof has been paralysed for the last 20 years following an injury during his service in the Israeli military.

He says the device has changed his life.

“I never dreamed I would walk again. After I was wounded, I forgot what it’s like. Only when standing up can I feel how tall I really am and speak to people eye to eye, not from below.”

Robo-suit

The device, which is now in clinical trials in Tel Aviv’s Sheba Medical Centre, is the brainchild of engineer Amit Goffer, founder of Argo Medical Technologies, a small Israeli high-tech company.

It was Goffer’s own paralysis that inspired him to look for an alternative to the wheelchair for mobility.

The company claims that by maintaining users upright on a daily basis, and exercising even paralysed limbs in the course of movement, the device can alleviate many of the health-related problems associated with long-term wheelchair use.

Kate Parkin, director of physical and occupational therapy at NYU Medical Center in the US said the potential benefits to the user were two-fold.

“Physically, the body works differently when upright. You can challenge different muscles and allow full expansion of the lungs.

“Psychologically, it lets people live at the upright level and make eye contact.”

Dr Mark Bacon, an expert at the UK charity Spinal Research, said: “There are a number of devices about which stabilise the trunk and can help with gait.

“Often they are very bulky and are only used for rehabilitation in specialist centres.”

He said ReWalk might be a good option for some people.

“Sitting down in a wheelchair can be an issue for some people. Devices like this one might be appealing. However, it might not be any better than a wheelchair in terms of convenience.

“And these devices are only suitable for people who still have good control over their hands and shoulders.”

New PML cases – a total of only 5 so far..

Medical News Today

Dated: Aug 04th 2008.

A report from Biogen Idec has confirmed two further cases of progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML) in people with multiple sclerosis (MS) in the EU.

The first person had an aggressive form of MS and had been taking Tysabri for approximately 17 months. They are now in a stable condition at home. The second person had taken Tysabri for around 14 months and is currently in hospital. Possible signs and symptoms of PML were identified through the risk management program which monitors for signs of the condition.

As of the end of June 2008 more than 31,800 people worldwide are being treated with Tysabri. The two new cases of PML were confirmed at the end of July 2008, bringing the total of people who have developed PML to five.

Lee Dunster, Head of Research at the MS Society, said: ‘We know the reports of two new cases of PML will be of some concern to people who are taking the drug, however we would reassure people that the risk of developing these serious side effects remains very small. As with all treatments, the benefits must be weighed with the risks of side effects and these issues should be discussed fully between you and your doctor.’