First exoskeleton child for spinal muscular atrophy ;
Researchers have introduced for the first time in the world children’s exoskeleton designed to help children with spinal muscular atrophy, a degenerative disease. With a weight of 12 kilos, the device is made of aluminum and titanium, and is designed to help patients walk-in some cases for the first time.
It can also be used in hospital-based physiotherapy to prevent the side effects associated with the loss of mobility associated with spinal muscular atrophy . The technology, which has been patented and licensed jointly by the CSIC (Spanish National Research Council) and its unit technology-based business, Marsi Bionics, is currently in the preclinical phase.
The reinforcement consists of long support rods, or orthotics, which are adjusted to fit around the legs and torso of the child. A number of motors in the joints mimic human muscles and give the child the necessary to stand and walk force. Finally, a series of sensors, a motion controller and a battery with five hours of full system life.
“The No.1 problem in the development of this type of pediatric exoskeleton is that the symptoms of neuromuscular diseases such as spinal muscular atrophy change over time, both in the joints and in the body.That why it is essential to have an exoskeleton able to adapt independently to these changes. Our model includes intelligent joints altering the stiffness of the corset automatically and adapt to the symptoms of each individual child when necessary, “says Elena Garcia, automatic and Robotics Center, a Univerity CSIC / Polytechnic University of Madrid.
The exoskeleton is aimed at children between the ages of 3 and 14. With five engines in each leg (each requires its own space to run), the minimum possible length of each leg is restricted. Moreover, the unpredictability of involuntary body movements of children under three years have forced researchers to set a lower age limit for the device. In other pathologies that do not restrict any movement of the joint and therefore require fewer engines, it would be possible to build a smaller frame, “adds Garcia.
an incurable disease
cord muscular atrophy is one of the most serious degenerative neuromuscular diseases in children and, although rare, resulting in high mortality rates in infants affected and children . It is genetic and causes progressive muscle weakness in general. This loss of strength leaves the child prostate. This is when the most drastic of the inability to walk together, effects including scoliosis and osteoporosis, which also cause pulmonary dysfunction, jeapordising child survival.
Type 1, the most serious of the three types, is diagnosed in the early months of life. The babies rarely ever do through their first 18 months. Type 2, the exoskeleton is intended to combat, can be diagnosed among the first seven to 18 months. Children who show symptoms are unable to walk, leading to a significant decrease in their health. The hope of life of children is seriously affected by this lack of mobility and any respiratory infection becomes critical to excess twos. There are, however, some cases of patients who reach adulthood. The diagnosis of type 3 is done once a child reaches 18 months, although symptoms do not become apparent until adolescence, when patients lose the ability to walk. “In the latter case, life expectancy is normal, albeit with a reduced quality of life,” says Garcia.
by using the device, Elena Garcia and his team hope to prevent the development of scoliosis and chain resulting from conditions caused by the inability to stand and walk.
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