Paralysed man can walk again
A man who was hit by a car and paralysed from the chest down has been able to walk again for the first time since the hit and run accident that damaged his spinal cord.
Rob Summers, from Oregon in the US, has benefited from an electrical stimulation of the spinal cord in a revolutionary new treatment.
Doctors planted 16 electrodes into Summers’ spine and electrical pulses were sent to the spinal cord as he tried daily to stand and walk again.
Within just a few days of the treatment he was able to stand independently and he can now voluntarily move his hips, knees, ankles and toes and with support he can also walk on a treadmill.
After a spinal injury the nerve cells in the spinal tissue is damaged and they need help to respond to movement signals that are being sent from the brain and legs.
In this case, precise electric stimulation was needed. It mimics a message sent from the brain that the legs need to start moving and changes the ‘mood’ of the spinal cord so it becomes aware of the messages being sent to it and responds accordingly.
When this was coupled with some intensive rehabilitation training, Summers was able to stand and walk again.
Summers said in an interview that the treatment has “completely changed my life” and added: “For someone who for four years was unable to even move a toe, to have the freedom and ability to stand on my own is the most amazing feeling.”
Now that electrical stimulation has worked in one patient, four more are being lined up to test the treatment further.
However, experts are warning that in this early stage of research electrical stimulation of the spinal cord should not be construed as a cure for paralysis.
Professor Susan Harkema was part of the study at the University of Louisville and she said in an interview: “It is really critical to be clear that it's still in a research realm, but stay tuned we're going to learn a lot more every day.”
Introducing Dosis - the AI powered dosing platform
Cloud-based platform Dosis uses AI to help patients and clinicians tailor their medication plans. Shivrat Chhabra, CEO and co-founder, tells us how it works.
When and why was Dosis founded?
Divya, my co-founder and I founded Dosis in 2017 with the purpose of creating a personalised dosing platform. We see personalisation in so many aspects of our lives, but not in the amount of medication we receive. We came across some research at the University of Louisville that personalised the dosing of a class of drugs called ESAs that are used to treat chronic anaemia. We thought, if commercialised, this could greatly benefit the healthcare industry by introducing precision medicine to drug dosing.
The research also showed that by taking this personalised approach, less drugs were needed to achieve the same or better outcomes. That meant that patients were exposed to less medication, so there was a lower likelihood of side effects. It also meant that the cost of care was reduced.
What is the Strategic Anemia Advisor?
Dosis’s flagship product, Strategic Anemia Advisor (SAA), personalises the dosing of Erythropoiesis Stimulating Agents (ESAs). ESAs are a class of drugs used to treat chronic anaemia, a common complication of chronic kidney disease.
SAA takes into account a patient’s previous ESA doses and lab levels, determines the patient’s unique response to the drug and outputs an ESA dose recommendation to keep the patient within a specified therapeutic target range. Healthcare providers use SAA as a clinical decision support tool.
What else is Dosis working on?
In the near term, we are working on releasing a personalised dosing module for IV iron, another drug that’s used in tandem with ESAs to treat chronic anaemia. We’re also working on personalising the dosing for the three drugs used to treat Mineral Bone Disorder. We’re very excited to expand our platform to these new drugs.
What are Dosis' strategic goals for the next 2-3 years?
We strongly believe that personalised dosing will be the standard of care within the next decade, and we’re honored to be a part of making that future a reality. In the next few years, we see Dosis entering partnerships with other companies that operate within value-based care environments, where tools like ours that help reduce cost while maintaining or improving outcomes are extremely useful.
What do you think AI's greatest benefits to healthcare are?
If designed well, AI in healthcare allows for a practical and usable way to deploy solutions that would not be feasible otherwise. For example, it’s possible for someone to manually solve the mathematical equations necessary to personalise drug dosing, but it is just not practical. AI in healthcare offers an exciting path forward for implementing solutions that for so long have appeared impractical or impossible.