New Promise in Healing Paraplegia

While age is a risk factor for many serious diseases, including cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, there are two other age-related conditions that impact our quality of life, even though they do not directly cause death.

As we age, we lose muscle, and it is also common for bones to weaken, causing osteopenia or osteoporosis. This combination of weakened bones and loss of muscle mass greatly increase the risk for a senior to fall. Falls are serious matters in older people: they are the most common way for an older person to lose their independence.

A fall can cause various degrees of damage; someone who falls might sustain a relatively minor injury, like a bruise, or a far more serious injury, like a broken hip. In some instances, a fall might lead to radical damage, such as paraplegia, in which the entire lower part of the body becomes paralyzed.

Although paraplegia has been a medically hopeless situation, a team of researchers from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN and the University of California, Los Angeles, have just devised a new strategy for helping paraplegics.

A paper, published in the journal Nature Medicine, reported the impressive success of surgery performed by Dr. Kendall Lee, of the Mayo Clinic, on a paraplegic. Dr. Lee successfully implanted an electrode in the epidural space, and connected it to a pulse generator. The pulse generator itself was accessible wirelessly via an external controller; its settings were adjustable so that the patient could find the setting optimal settings for them.

After rehabilitation, the patient regained the ability to walk the length of a football field on his own, using a walker. He was also able to walk for a duration of 16 minutes with just slight assistance.

The patient’s ability to walk only occurred while electronic stimulation to the spinal cord was on, meaning that complete paralysis resumed when the electronic stimulation was turned off. However, this experiment offers new hope for those suffering from paraplegia, as well as new insights about the condition.

Principal investigator Dr. Lee, explaining the significance of this breakthrough, said, “This is teaching us that the networks of neurons below a spinal cord injury still can function after paralysis.”

At the Hamilton Grove Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center, in Hamilton, NJ, we can’t wait until we see paraplegics walk. In the meantime, we continue to emphasize restorative care, maximizing each patient’s potential to regain and maintain function and mobility.

We are proud to offer SMART Rehab, an advanced concept in rehabilitative care. SMART Rehab has set a whole new standard for rehabilitative therapy programs, with superior care and comfort unparalleled in the healthcare industry.

SMART Rehab creates each patient’s individualized care plan based on their personal physician’s protocol, assuring the best clinical outcomes. We partner with a client’s  physician, maintaining regular contact and forwarding progress reports. Our experienced and professional therapists are goal oriented and use aggressive therapy regimens that promote rapid healing.

Our SMART Rehab Therapy Gym is equipped with the latest and best in innovative therapeutic equipment. And our therapists provide therapy seven days a week, because we feel that recovery shouldn’t take a break on weekends.

Hamilton Grove offers SMART rehab for:

  • Hip or knee replacement
  • Post-stroke
  • Post-surgery recovery
  • Complex wound care
  • Motor vehicle trauma
  • Cardiac rehabilitation
  • Diabetes monitoring and care
  • Pain management
  • IV Therapy

In addition, Hamilton Grove fosters an environment that is cheerful and enthusiastic, so residents truly relish and appreciate life.

Our outstanding Social Services team works hard to ensure that every resident thrives socially, emotionally, and spiritually.

We promote a culture of independence, crucial for emotional, social, and physical health. Residents are encouraged to choose their activity and meal preferences, and to perform tasks and activities as self-sufficiently as possible.

We carefully select, train and re-train our wonderful caregivers, who are especially sensitive to the needs of our long-term care patients. They treat residents with love, compassion, and dignity.

Read our reviews on caring.com, wellness.com, and senioradvisor.com to hear what our residents and their families have to say.

Or better yet, come see for yourself: Contact us to schedule a tour by calling 609-588-5800 or by clicking here.

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