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The Father of Cyborgs

January 29, 2003

Filed under: Neuroprosthetics

Here’s a follow-up to the very first posting I made to this site, an article in Wired, entitled The Next Brainiacs. Creative Loafing Atlanta has an article with more about Dr. Philip Kennedy and his experiments implanting electrodes into the brains of severely disabled people. More background about Johnny Ray (one of the pioneering patients) is given, including the news that he died last summer of an aneurysm. Future applications–and implications–of this technology are considered. This is going to be interesting.

Beauty Ability

January 27, 2003

Filed under: Miscellaneous

Here’s a site that will be of interest to the ladies: Beauty Ability. I bought a copy of Wheelchair Fashion 101 a few months ago, and thought it quite good. I’m glad to see such books are starting to emerge, even if the major dead-tree publishers still don’t recognize their value. (Warning: breast implants and sex are discussed graphically, with pictures. Ok, I’ll wait here while you go click on the link…)
My personal beauty tip: only buy Nice Shoes. Hey, it’s not like I have to walk in them; they’re only there for show. So I get the good-looking ones that would kill a walkie. (Even though I’m small, I’ve found a good source: Cinderella of Boston!)


Filed under: Assistive Technology

I came across a fledgling web site that I thought might be of interest to some people with Dejerine-Sottas: SCI PILOT (Spinal Cord Injury Peer Information Library on Technology). Billed as a resource about spinal cord injured consumer’s experiences with assistive technology, it looks to have great potential as a sort as Epinions for the disabled.

Grants to support neuromuscular research

January 23, 2003

Filed under: Miscellaneous

The Muscular Dystrophy Association is accepting applications for both development grants and grants to support research on treatments for muscular dystrophy and related diseases of the neuromuscular system. Generally, development grants are intended to expand the number of researchers in the field by supporting investigators who, under the guidance of a senior researcher, will be given the flexibility to conduct a neuromuscular-disease research project.

  • Who is eligible: researchers at colleges and universities, or other medical and research institutions, who have a doctorate in medicine, science, or philosophy. Applicants outside of the United States are eligible for research grants if, in addition to the above criteria, their country of residence has inadequate sources of financial support for biomedical research or their project requires the collaboration of an American investigator supported by the association. Applicants for development grants must have at least 18 months of postdoctoral training.
  • Deadline to request applications: June 15. Deadline for applications: July 15.
  • Total amount to be awarded and number of awards: not specified.
  • Amount of individual awards: up to $45,000 per year for development grants; there is no limit on funds for research grants. All grants are for one to three years.

View the full text of the announcement on the association’s World Wide Web site.

MS damage repaired by stem cells

Filed under: Stem Cell Research

Scientists have successfully regenerated myelin in the brains of mice with Multiple Sclerosis. The stem cells were able to home in on areas of recent damage, and convert into oligodendrocytes – cells that manufacture myelin. This doesn’t solve the problem of getting stem cells to peripheral nerves, but it’s another step in the right direction.