Robots help kids with cerebral palsy

Cerebral palsy is a heart-breaking condition that happens to too many babies in too many delivery rooms around the nation. Often caused by doctor negligence, it is a condition that will affect a person for their whole life. However, a new set of robotic legs, named "Lokomat" by its creators from the University Of Alberta, may be able to restore some function to many of those who suffer from this condition.

Lokomat was recently tested with 12-year-old Maggie Slessor, a young girl who suffers from a form of cerebral palsy that makes it difficult for her to walk. Lokomat automatically corrects her gait and her balance so she can walk without the use of a cane or a walker.

The idea behind Lokomat is to help correct the coordination and strength problems caused by cerebral palsy and to train children with it how to walk. Stressor was the first volunteer in the program, and her progress in it was promising. She not only walked without support, but enjoyed the feeling of being assisted by a robot.

Could devices such as this be used to help manage the negative side effects of cerebral palsy? It's possible, especially if the test results remain positive with other volunteers. The difficult thing with cerebral palsy is that treating it requires battling damaged areas of the brain. While it is possible to correct movement problems caused by cerebral palsy, it takes a lot of effort from a very young age.

The use of robots like Lokomat could make the necessary physical therapy fun and even exciting for many children. It may inspire them to practice harder so that they can spend more time with the robot and to manage their symptoms of cerebral palsy in a constructive way. Though it would take a lot of difficult work, using Lokomat or other robot aids like it could bring new hope to parents of children with cerebral palsy.

We hope that this kind of therapy catches on and expands, giving generations of children with cerebral palsy the chance to regain much of their missing mobility. Until then, it is important to know your legal rights about doctor negligence and cerebral palsy and to exercise those rights whenever possible. In many cases, a doctor who commits the kind of negligence that leads to cerebral palsy can be sued successfully for their wrongdoing.

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