Tuesday December 11, 2018
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Paralyzed Patients Start Walking Following A New Treatment

the researchers say this is not a cure for paralysis, and caution that it may not work on every patient. They say more study is needed.

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Paralyzed
A wheelchair sits in the viewing area at a golf course, June 19, 2017. Medical researchers are working to stimulate the spinal cord to allow paralyzed patients to stand and walk.. VOA
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U.S. researchers are reporting progress in helping those paralyzed by spinal cord injuries to stand, and even to take steps.

Two teams of medical researchers working separately say an electrical implant that stimulates the spinal cord allowed three paralyzed patients to stand and move forward while they held on to a walker or were supported from the back.

One patient was able to walk the length of a football field.

“Recovery can happen if you have the right circumstances,” University of Louisville professor Susan Harkema said, adding that the spinal cord can “relearn to do things.”

Paralyzed
Bionic exoskeleton helps wheelchair users stand and walk. Flickr

Experts say that a damaged spinal cord leaves the brain unable to send messages to the nerves that activate the muscles.

The researchers believe those nerves are still alive, but are asleep.

Stimulating them with electricity, along with intense rehabilitation, can wake up those sleeping nerves and enable them to receive commands again.

Other earlier treatments using electricity allowed patients to stand and move their toes, but not walk.

Paralyzed
Experts say that a damaged spinal cord leaves the brain unable to send messages to the nerves that activate the muscles.

But the researchers say this is not a cure for paralysis, and caution that it may not work on every patient. They say more study is needed.

Also Read: HP Launches Game Changing 3D Printing Technology

Reports on the new therapy appear in the New England Journal of Medicine and the journal Nature Medicine. (VOA)

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Robots May Be Able to Perform C-Sections Soon

These big, set-piece operations will become less common as we are able to intervene earlier and use more moderate interventions

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C-section, Robots
A newborn, one of 12 babies born by C-section, cries inside an incubator at the Bunda Hospital in Jakarta, Indonesia, Dec. 12, 2012. VOA

Robotics are expected to become so sophisticated, hospitals may not need surgeons. Controlled by healthcare assistants, the machines will soon be delivering babies by carrying out C-sections as well as other surgeries, say experts.

The predictions are based on the report by the “Commission on the Future of Surgery” set up by the Royal College of Surgeons in 2017, the Daily Mail reported.

According to the report, the robots controlled by healthcare assistants such as technicians are expected to conduct vaginal surgeries and operations on the bowel, heart and lungs.

This will help advance diagnoses of illnesses like cancer before they destroy organs and, as a result, operations will be smaller in scale and less traumatic.

Robot, Reading Companion
FILE – A visitor shakes hands with a humanoid robot at 2018 China International Robot Show in Shanghai (VOA)

Even healthcare assistants — who do not need any formal qualifications to get a job — could one day be trained to perform C-sections with the robots, The Telegraph reported.

Specialists and surgeons will remain in charge of operations but may not always need to be in the room.

“This is always going to be under the watchful eye and careful supervision of a surgeon,” Richard Kerr, neurosurgeon at the Oxford University and Chair of the commission, was quoted as saying.

“These are highly qualified healthcare professionals and they will be trained in a specific aspect of that procedure.

“The changes are expected to affect every type of operation. This will be a watershed moment in surgery,” Kerr said.

While some applications of robots and DNA-based medicines are expected to happen sooner than others, those with healthcare assistant-led C-sections is possible within five years, the report said.

C-section, Robots
These are highly qualified healthcare professionals and they will be trained in a specific aspect of that procedure. Flickr

However, the experts warn that the use of robots in surgery could be controversial. This is in light of an investigation which revealed that a 69-year-old man in Newcastle died when a robot was used to carry out his heart surgery in 2015.

The commission’s report also claims that major cancer operations could become a thing of past because screening DNA will pick up diseases earlier, before they ravage the body.

Also Read: AI  to Help the Students of Japan in Enhancing English Speaking Skills

Similarly, people with severe forms of arthritis could be identified early on and faster treatment might reduce the need for major hip and knee replacement ops.

“These big, set-piece operations will become less common as we are able to intervene earlier and use more moderate interventions,” said Professor Dion Mortonm, a member of the commission. (IANS)