Physiatrist Honored With Ladies Home Journal "Health Breakthrough Award" - Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago

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Published on August 08, 2007

RIC Physiatrist Honored With Ladies Home Journal "Health Breakthrough Award"

Dr. Todd Kuiken and the "Bionic Arm"

Dr. Todd Kuiken and the "Bionic Arm"

Todd Kuiken, MD, PhD, director of the RIC Neural Engineering Center for Bionic Medicine, was presented with a 2007 "Health Breakthrough Award" by Ladies Home Journal for his work in developing the world's first neural-controlled, prosthetic arm that provides more natural and advanced control for amputees.

Dr. Kuiken pioneered a technique called targeted muscle reinneravation (TMR) which reconnects major nerves from an amputees arm or shoulder, that once belonged to their arm, to healthy chest muscle and skin. By "rewiring" the patient, and fitting them with a robotic prosthesis, patients are able to simply think about moving the arm and their neural impulses direct the arm to move. This allows for easier, more natural control over a prosthesis.

With the help of his team of prosthetists, occupational therapists, surgeons and engineers, Kuiken has fit eight patients with neural-controlled "Bionic Arm" since 2002.

Dr. Kuiken's work with the first woman "Bionic Arm" patient, Claudia Mitchell, will be featured in the September issue of Ladies Home Journal on news stands at the end of August.

This research has been adapted by the U.S. Department of Defense’s DARPA Revolutionizing Prosthetics Program, an initiative developed to provide advanced rehabilitative technologies to American soldiers returning from combat with amputations. Kuiken and his team have conducted successful clinical trials on "Proto 1," a prototype arm that allows a patient eight degrees of freedom and sensory feedback that allows them to feel sensations like temperature and texture with their prosthesis. This group of collaborators continue to advance this technology to provide the best available technology to injured service men and women returning with amputations.

To help support the development of this science, visit Ways to Give and to participate in research at RIC visit Research Studies and Clinical Trials.

About The Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago

The Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago is dedicated to helping people with all levels and types of physical disabilities live a fulfilling life. U.S. News & World Report has ranked RIC the “#1 Rehabilitation Hospital in America ” every year since 1991. RIC operates a flagship hospital in Chicago as well as a network of DayRehabCenters and outpatient centers located throughout the city and surrounding suburbs. It also maintains strategic alliances with other healthcare providers throughout the state of Illinois and north central Indiana. For more information, visit the RIC Web site at

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