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  #1  
Old November 15th 04, 08:46 AM
dirtylitterboxofferingstospammers
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Default BBC news report

See http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/4006933.stm

Not a handcycle!

"A bike for the paralysed
By Jane Elliott
BBC News Health Reporter

People paralysed by spinal cord injuries could soon be able to go out cycling.
Scientists say the tricycle, which works by stimulating the legs electrically,
will not only provide a means of transport and recreation, but should also stop
muscle wastage and could provide more mobility.

FES (functional electrical stimulation) tricycling has been developed by teams
from University College London (UCL) and the University of Glasgow.

The technique involves stimulating paralysed muscles by passing short pulses of
current through electrodes on the skin.

A stimulator synchronizes the stimulation with the pedal position while the
person has a 'throttle' to control how much stimulation is applied - rather
like a motor bike with the legs as the engine.

Professor Nick Donaldson, said the device - dubbed the 'recumbent tricycle' -
would be available within a year.

He said it would help get people back into exercising safely - an option not
always open to them at present.

Wheelchairs

"The arms and shoulders were not evolved for wheelchair sports," he told the
BBC News website.

"More than half wheelchair athletes over 40 years old suffer from damaged
joints."

Professor Donaldson said the only current way to exercise the paralysed muscles
was by electrical stimulation.

But just stimulating the muscles was not much fun and made people reluctant to
exercise.

The new tricycle, which can be used at home to train the muscles while
stationary, or for recreation outdoors, should provide a much more tempting
prospect.

"We hope that these people with Spinal Cord Injuries (SCI) will find that this
gives them a pleasant way to exercise their legs and become healthier.

"We want to create a system that they can use from home and that they will want
to use because it is fun."

Muscles

Professor Donaldson said it was important for people with SCIs to try to
exercise their legs, as inactivity not only led to muscle wastage, and bone
loss, but also to poor circulation.

He is hopeful that pioneering work at the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital
in Stanmore, Middlesex, may eventually make the tricycle even more effective.

People with SCIs often face difficulties that cannot be assisted by surface
stimulation - such as control of their bodily functions.

It is possible to insert implants to control functions such as emptying the
bladder - but this involves cutting some sensory nerves.

At the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital trials are underway to test an
alternative that causes no nerve damage at all.

It works by placing electrodes on the nerves as they emerge from the spinal
cord.

Professor Donaldson said preliminary work suggests the same technique could be
used to improve mobility for people using his tricycle.

John Cavanagh, head of spinal research at Bramley Business Centre, Guilford,
said the design would be welcomed by people there were already a number of
stationary bikes - but that this design would allow people with SCIs greater
mobility.

"The idea is certainly very good and will enable people to get fit and propel
themselves around outside.

"Theoretically, it is quite a good idea as people with paralysis of the limbs
sometimes see their muscles waste away and this will keep them working."

Exhibition

The tricycle is just one of a number of exhibits on display at the 'Celebration
of UK Engineering Research and Innovation'.

The exhibition, in Docklands, London brings together a group of people involved
in all aspects of UK engineering and are leading their fields in world class
research.

Other exhibits include a swim buoy designed to give support to people with
spinal disabilities enabling them to swim or float in the pool.

Designer Paul Borkowski, a graduate of Industrial Design Engineering on a
combined course with Imperial College and Royal College of Art, worked closely
with paraplegics and tetraplegics, to see the problems they have swimming.

One, a former diver with the Royal Navy who had been paralysed in a car
accident, told Paul that it was impossible for them to swim on their fronts
without their heads flopping into the water.

He said they could not swim on their backs because their disability prevented
their backs from making the arch needed to swim.

So he created his swim buoy to provide support in the shoulder to enable the
spine to assume the correct position.

Paul hopes to do further tests on the design before approaching a manufacturer
to get his device into production.

Other designs, show how imaging can be used to help surgeons carrying out
orthopaedic and heart operations.

King's College London, will be exhibiting a device that uses ultrasound
technology to build up a 3D image before surgery, cutting out the need for a CT
scan.

They will also demonstrate a device that uses an MR scanner along with X-rays
to create better information for surgeons treating heart rhythm abnormalities.

Lucy Brady, from Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, said the
exhibition showed how engineering could be used to advance healthcare.

"Many aspects of healthcare have been influenced by engineering research from
the preventative and diagnostic benefits of targeted drug delivery, sensors and
medical imaging to the treatment that the operating room of the future will
offer with its computer assisted surgery.

"It is impossible to underestimate the significance of engineering and its
ongoing impact on the world we live in." "

Cheers, helen s


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  #2  
Old November 15th 04, 03:20 PM
Dave Larrington
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Default

dirtylitterboxofferingstospammers wrote:

See http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/4006933.stm


I have a vague recollection of seeing something about this on the WWP a few
years ago.

And I have a very clear recollection of Carmen Brueck riding a leg-propelled
trike around the Cologne-Mungersdorf velodrome back in 1997 using a similar
rig which she had made herself. In her kitchen.

KUATB...

--

Dave Larrington - http://www.legslarry.beerdrinkers.co.uk/
World Domination?
Just find a world that's into that kind of thing, then chain to the
floor and walk up and down on it in high heels. (Mr. Sunshine)


  #3  
Old November 15th 04, 07:39 PM
Danny Colyer
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Default

Dave Larrington wrote:
I have a vague recollection of seeing something about this on the WWP a few
years ago.


It was on Tomorrow's World on 10/04/02:
URL:http://tinyurl.com/46ggs for the urc thread.


--
Danny Colyer (the UK company has been laughed out of my reply address)
URL:http://www.speedy5.freeserve.co.uk/danny/
"He who dares not offend cannot be honest." - Thomas Paine
 




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