Thursday, July 13, 2006
Quadriplegia and mechanical arms.
This is a little odd. On the one hand, at least quadriplegics won't be totally dependent, if this technology is actually reliable. On the other hand, it doesn't really solve the major problems related to quadriplegia, not the least of which is the drastically-reduced lifespan. Grade A spinal cord injuries in the cervical spine (that is, quadriplegia with no residual motor or sensory function below the affected radicular level) leave patients highly-vulnerable to death from relatively simple injuries or illnesses, such as pressure ulcers (can't feel 'em, so they get worse, lead to infection, become gangrenous, and eventually kill -- that's what got Chris Reeve). AFAIK, stem cells are the best hope for quadriplegics and others with SCIs -- this bit of tech is little more than a sophisticated long-handled scrubber or raised toilet seat.