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Published on October 21, 2011

RIC's Bionic Medicine Innovations Educate World Through First-Ever Conference and TED TALK

CHICAGO, IL—Pioneering work in bionic medicine at The Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago (RIC), the nation's #1 ranked rehabilitation provider[i], reached around the world this October through the world's first conference on Targeted Muscle Reinnervation (TMR), the procedure that supports bionic limb technology, and a TED TALK by Todd Kuiken, M.D., Ph.D., who presented his work at TED GLOBAL, the renowned high-profile forum that explores ideas from today's visionaries that reaches a global audience through TED.com.

"Bionics is where the stuff of life meets machine," said Kuiken, one of RIC's leading scientists, during the presentation, featured on TED.com on October 20. "Targeted Muscle Reinnervation is helping amputees regain ability to function in their daily lives and do it quicker, more naturally."

The pioneer of the TMR procedure and director of the Center for Bionic Medicine, Kuiken demonstrated RIC's pioneering advancements with the pattern recognition arm (PRA) with the assistance of former patient and research collaborator Amanda Kitts. A Tennessee mom and business owner, she lost her arm but received the TMR procedure and works continuously with Kuiken's team to improve and refine the technology.

TMR, which has evolved into a clinical procedure performed on more than 50 individuals worldwide, and has provided the impetus for development of new technologies, including pattern recognition, also being developed at RIC. At TED GLOBAL, Kitts showed how her pattern recognition arm (PRA) gave her even greater control and enabled her to perform advanced multi-functional tasks, such as using her elbow and her hand simultaneously, just by her thoughts.

Kitts also demonstrated her arm and answered questions for nearly 150 researchers, surgeons and other medical professionals including top surgeons from the U.S. military at the TMR conference in Chicago. Kuiken co-hosted the event with Dr. Gregory Dumanian of Northwestern University. The conference drew prosthetists, physicians, occupational and physical therapists, researchers, and engineers from 25 states and eight countries, including Israel, Sweden and China.

"TMR is now a concept that is gaining support and recognition," said Kuiken. "In this conference, it was not just us explaining the concept of TMR, but people around the country and around the world sharing their experience and improvements in the technique and prosthetic fittings."

About The Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago

The Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago (RIC) is the nation's #1 ranked provider of comprehensive physical medicine and rehabilitation care to patients from around the world and is the leader in research and development of the cutting-edge treatments and technologies in its field.  Through aggressive medical protocols, RIC guides the patient care process toward a better outcome.

RIC holds an unparalleled market distinction with a record seven, multi-year, multi-million dollar federal research designations awarded and funded by the National Institutes of Health and the Department of Education's National Institute of Disability and Rehabilitation Research in the areas of spinal cord injury, traumatic brain injury, stroke, neurological rehabilitation, outcomes research and rehabilitation engineering research.  RIC operates its 165-bed, current flagship hospital in downtown Chicago, as well as a network of more than 30 sites of care distributed throughout the Midwestern region, through which it delivers inpatient, day rehabilitation and outpatient services.

Founded in 1954, RIC has been designated the "#1 Rehabilitation Hospital in America" by U.S. News & World Report every year since 1991.  RIC sets the standard of care in the post-acute market through its innovative applied research and discovery programs, particularly in the areas of neuroscience, bionic medicine, musculoskeletal medicine and technology transfer. For more information, go to www.ric.org.

About the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago

The Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago (RIC) is the nation’s #1-ranked provider of comprehensive physical medicine and rehabilitation care to patients from around the world. Ranked #1 by both U.S. News and World Report and the U.S. National Institutes of Health, RIC holds an unparalleled market distinction.

With a record six multi-year, multi-million dollar federal research designations awarded and funded by the National Institutes of Health and the Department of Education’s National Institute of Disability and Rehabilitation Research in the areas of spinal cord injury, brain injury, stroke, neurological rehabilitation, outcomes research, bionic medicine/rehabilitation engineering research, and pediatric orthopedics, RIC operates the largest rehabilitation research enterprise in the world.

RIC also operates its 182-bed, flagship hospital in downtown Chicago, as well as a network of more than 40 sites of care distributed throughout the Midwest, through which it delivers inpatient, day rehabilitation, and outpatient services.

Founded in 1954, RIC has been designated the “#1 Rehabilitation Hospital in America” by U.S. News & World Report every year since 1991. RIC sets the standard of care in the post-acute market through its innovative applied research and discovery programs, particularly in the areas of neuroscience, bionic medicine, musculoskeletal medicine and technology transfer. For more information, go to www.ric.org.

Journalists contact: mediarelations@ric.org, 312-238-4571.

All others contact: webmaster@ric.org.