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New Technology May Boost Artificial Arms
Date:2/10/2009

ents who had undergone the surgery were able to move their elbows and wrists almost as fast as the other participants.

Essentially, the technology allows greater control of the arm by decoding the signals sent by the muscles, Kuiken said. You could think, "bend your wrist," and your wrist bends. You could think, "rotate your wrist," and your wrist rotates."

The potential cost of the surgery and related expenses is unclear. Currently, artificial arms can cost between $60,000 and $100,000, Kuiken said.

The study was published in the Feb. 11 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Dr. Gerald E. Loeb, director of the University of Southern California's Medical Device Development Facility, was impressed by the study results but cautioned that more work is needed.

"The Luke Skywalker [prosthetic] hand idea that's been in science fiction will require a lot of technology to come together," said Loeb, who wrote a commentary in the journal accompanying the study. "We're starting to see substantial advances in several of the pieces, but it's going to be a very long process to integrate these pieces into products for patients."

More information

Learn more about artificial limbs from reachoutmichigan.org.



SOURCES: Todd A. Kuiken, M.D., Ph.D., director, Neural Engineering Center for Artificial Limbs, Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago; Gerald E. Loeb, M.D., director, Medical Device Development Facility, University of Southern California, Los Angeles. Feb. 11, 2009, Journal of the American Medical Association


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