Given Limb Works with the Center for the Intrepid

On the plaque in front of the Intrepid mosaic there is a quote:

“To be resolutely fearless, bold, unafraid.”

This six-word sentence is emblematic of the courageous military personnel at the Center for the Intrepid at the Brooke Army Medical Center, a state of the art rehab facility in San Antonio.

 

 

Center for the Intrepid Gait Assessment Lab:

20% of injured military return to their units. To be eligible, they must prove they can handle uneven surfaces (gravel, sand) and steep slopes.

 

 

 

Intrepid Driving Lab:

In the Intrepid Driving Lab, patients are given the chance to to try different vehicle adaptations and are exposed to various driving scenarios on the screen. Many of the injured are not amputees, but have brain injuries and/or PTSD. This lab is a safe setting for driving assessment before road training.

 

 

Center for the Intrepid Pool:

The Given Limb helped USA Paratriathlon run their first training program here.

 

 

 

 

Center for the Intrepid Pool:

Paratriathlon training, started here by the Given Limb, is not just about competition, but about developing lifelong healthy exercise habits, which are proven to help with depression, PTSD, and other post-war issues.

 

 

Center for the Intrepid Occupational Therapy:

The OT lab area (left) is much the same as any other facility, but there is also a mockup of an apartment (right) where patients can practice cooking, cleaning, reaching items on shelves, etc.

 

Given Limb Fundraiser a Smashing Success

On November 8, 2017, the Given Limb Foundation held a fundraiser in New York City in honor of Veterans Day. The event gave an overview of the Given Limb Foundation to the hundred people in attendance.The night was filled with good food and great company but, by far the highlight of the evening was an inspirational speech given by Paralympian and veteran Melissa Stockwell. Ms. Stockwell gave an incredibly moving speech on her own story- from losing her leg in Iraq, to becoming a 3x world champion and Paralympic bronze medalist in paratriathlon, to co-founding Dare2Tri paratriathlon club. Every person in that room was deeply inspired.

 

Thank you to Melissa Stockwell and to all the veterans that have served our country!

New Prosthetic Changes Swimming

SWIMBased on the reporting of Catherine Saint Louis of the New York Times:

In 2004, former Marine Dan Lasko tragically lost his left leg in an explosion in Afghanistan. But that hasn’t stopped Lasko; he’s been a dedicated triathlete ever since. But he’s never had a durable leg that could match the strength of his right leg until now. The new leg Lasko would be testing, “had a jet-black foot with a nonslip tread on its sole, which he described as “awesome” even before entering the water.”  His excitement was, “palpable from the first whiff of chlorine.”.

Waterproof prosthetics have existed for decades but none have been as functional or effective as this new prosthetic. The designer, Todd Goldstein, “was enlisted for the project in part because of his experience with 3-D printing. On a Friday night before the swim test, he programmed a 3-D printer to make a crucial part of the prosthesis: a downward-pointing triangle of nylon and plastic located at calf height that provides some propulsion but, with cone-shaped holes that lets some water through, is not overly forceful.”

The cost of the prosthetic will eventually range from 2,000 to 5,000 dollars. However, amputees will most likely have to pay out of pocket, “Most insurance companies don’t provide coverage for recreational prostheses, Dr. Crandell (the medical director of the amputee program at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Boston) said, ‘even though ultimately getting back to sports is best physically and for psychological recovery.’ ”

 

This new breakthrough in the field of recreational prosthetics could be revolutionary for thousands of amputees for years to come.

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World’s First Thought Controlled Prosthetic

mind controlled prosthetic

Bionic arms controlled by a patient’s thoughts are a radical improvement on existing artificial arms, according to researchers. Existing prosthetic arms rely on a patient twitching the muscles in the stump of their damaged arms. But because the muscle is damaged, an amputee may only be able to carry out limited movements, such as one or two grasping actions.The limited range of movements is a reason why up to 50 per cent of amputees abandon their electronic arms at present.

But by linking the nerves from the spine into an intact piece of muscle, either in the patient’s chest or biceps, patients were able to carry out a much wider repertoire of movements.These included opening and closing the hand, rotating the wrist and moving the arms up and down. To control the new prosthetic, the patient simply has to think like they are controlling a phantom arm. By imagining the desired action, such as pinching two fingers together, the signal is carried by the nerves to the muscle. Electronic sensors on the skin surface pick up the signals, which then control the robotic arm. Ultimately it is hoped that more commands could be programmed into the robotic prosthetic, allowing more actions.

Dr Dario Farina, now based at Imperial College London, and colleagues in Europe, Canada and US led the research. He said yesterday: ‘When an arm is amputated the nerve fibres and muscles are also severed, which means that it is very difficult to get meaningful signals from them to operate a prosthetic. ‘We’ve tried a new approach, moving the focus from muscles to the nervous system. ‘This means that our technology can detect and decode signals more clearly, opening up the possibility of robotic prosthetics that could be far more intuitive and useful for patients. It is a very exciting time to be in this field of research.’

The researchers carried out lab-based experiments with six volunteers at the University of Vienna, who were either amputees from the shoulder down or just above the elbow. After physiotherapy training, the amputees were able to make a more extensive range of movements than would be possible using a classic muscle-controlled robotic prosthetic. They came to this conclusion by comparing their research to previous studies on muscle-controlled robotic prosthetics.

While improvements are expected, the authors hope to have the prosthesis on the market in the next three years. A variety of ‘bionic arms’ are being tested by researchers. While an alternative approach is using brain implants, the advantage of using a nerve from the spine is that the approach is compatible with existing prosthetic arms – and no wires need to be inserted into the brain to control the device.

Read more here

New Option for Female Amputees

Nearly 2 million Americans have had an arm or leg amputated, and those numbers continue to grow as wounded servicemen and women return home. It takes time to adjust to a prosthetic limb. But a team of engineers and medical experts is widening the options for women.Twenty-one-year-old Alexandra Capellini is an active college senior. She’s in flats on the sloping campus walkways, but loves the look of high heels. As she sees it, “most of what women like to wear when you’re going out or even adjusting to seasons.” Alexandra lost her leg above the right knee to bone cancer at age seven. Adjusting her prosthetic limb is second nature.
Now mechanical engineers and medical experts are designing a new foot for female amputees. “The highest prosthetics go is zero to two inches. We wanted to make one that goes zero to four. One of the biggest challenges we faced was having to mimic the ball of the foot. Whenever you stand in a high heel condition it’s different than standing in a flat foot condition, so a lot of weight is shifted. The big toe is what keeps you from falling forward,” explained Joey Tilson a mechanical engineering student at John Hopkins University
The foot holds position with an ankle lever. The goal: a quick adjustment, so a woman could wear heels to a party and kick them off to dance. “You don’t get out a screwdriver to adjust your feet usually when you adjust your shoes,” said  Nathan Scott, Ph.D.,  also a mechanical engineering student at Johns Hopkins University. Alexandra loves the concept, but also the attention it brings to those living without limbs. “I think the bigger picture is emphasizing options for female amputees,” she said.
The prosthetic foot is made from a carbon fiber, and weighs about a pound and a half. The mechanical engineering students designed it as part of their final senior project. It’s in the early stages, but it may be able to adapt up to four inches in height.
Read more here