World’s First Child Exoskeleton Designed to Help Children With Spinal Muscular Atrophy

June 13, 2016 | Johannes Van Zijl

Child exoskeleton to help with spinal muscular atrophy
Photo credit: Screen capture from video by CSIC Comunicación

It’s even designed to grow alongside them!

The Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) unveiled a newly developed exoskeleton prototype designed specifically to help children suffering from spinal muscular atrophy walk again. The degenerative genetic disease results in the progressive loss of motor neurons, which causes muscles to weaken over time. Children suffering from spinal muscular atrophy end up bedridden and unable to walk as they grow older.

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Here’s the video by CSIC Comunicación describing the new exoskeleton:

The exoskeleton will be available for purchase, but it could also be used in hospitals and during physiotherapy training sessions as a useful tool to help children with spinal muscular atrophy stay mobile, delaying or avoiding the onset of other conditions such as osteoporosis, scoliosis, and respiratory failure. Preclinical lab trials are currently ongoing, and the exoskeleton could be sold as early as next year if sufficient funds are raised.

"Design, manufacture and research of the exoskeleton is a great example of how science is concerned with the particular problems of society, with tangible results," Emilio Lora-Tamayo, the president of CSIC, told TeleSUR.

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