research in focus

What’s the Buzz: Using Vibratory Haptic Feedback to Improve Grip Strength in Hand Prostheses

According to the Amputee Coalition of America, more than 735,000 Americans have had an upper limb amputation, and up to half of these individuals use a prosthetic hand. A myoelectric prosthesis is a type of prosthetic hand controlled by muscles in the upper arm. The prosthesis is connected to electronic sensors used to detect minute muscle movements and electrical activity from the muscles and nerves. Those movements and electrical activity provide information to the motors that would then use that information to move the wrist, hand, and fingers of the prosthesis.

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Self-Directed Care May Help People with Serious Mental Illness Take an Active Role in Their Recovery

Serious mental illnesses (SMI) are conditions like schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or depression. People with serious mental illness often receive traditional mental health services funded by Medicaid, such as medications or psychotherapy. These services may help reduce SMI symptoms, but they may not be effective enough to help people with SMI participate fully in their communities. Self-directed care (SDC) is a new and alternative approach to traditional care for people with SMI.

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Even with Health Insurance, Working-Age Americans with Disabilities May Not Always Get the Healthcare They Need

People with disabilities may have more complex healthcare needs than people without disabilities. Receiving regular healthcare can help people with disabilities avoid preventable health problems, but they may have difficulty getting necessary medical or dental care. Their health insurance may not cover all of their needs, or they may encounter other barriers such as a lack of transportation to get to the doctor’s office. As a result, they might put off or skip getting necessary care putting them at risk for expensive health emergencies.

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People Caring for a Family Member with a Traumatic Brain Injury Can Benefit from Self-Care Supports

A traumatic brain injury (TBI) can result in lasting brain damage from an accident or other head trauma. A TBI may be mild, moderate, or severe. TBI survivors may develop physical or cognitive disabilities and sometimes need help with daily living tasks like shopping, transportation, and keeping track of appointments. Often, the TBI survivor’s spouse or a close family member or friend takes on much of this caregiving responsibility. Becoming a caregiver for a TBI survivor can be challenging, especially in the first months after the TBI.

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Tips on Promoting Job Success for Peer Providers at Community Mental Health Agencies

Youth with serious mental health conditions (SMHCs) have medical diagnoses such as bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, or depression. These youth may benefit from relationships with young adult peers who have themselves experienced SMHCs and are now in recovery. Some community mental health agencies employ young adults with SMHCs to be peer providers, serving as role models and advocates for their clients.

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Doing Robot-Guided Ankle Exercises At Home Can Help Improve Walking Skills for Children with Cerebral Palsy

Cerebral palsy (CP) is the most common movement-related disability in children. CP is caused by brain damage early in life that can limit the brain’s ability to control muscle movements. Although many children with CP can walk with or without assistive devices, they may develop stiffness or spasms in their muscles crossing the ankle, causing difficulties with gait, balance, or long-distance walking. A combination of stretching and strength-building ankle training exercises can help children with CP improve their walking abilities.

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Expanding Medicaid Programs May Allow More People with Disabilities to Participate in the Workforce

Working-age Americans with disabilities often face more challenges getting health insurance than their peers without disabilities. They may have more complex healthcare needs, along with lower incomes that may prevent them from accessing private health insurance plans. Medicaid programs provide essential health insurance coverage for people who are low income, including many Americans with disabilities. Medicaid is funded by federal and state governments and administered by individual states.

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¿Qué Tipos de Dispositivos Electrónicos Son Utilizados por las Personas con Lesión de la Médula Espinal?

Una lesión de la médula espinal (LME) es un daño en cualquier parte de la médula espinal debido a un accidente u otro trauma. Dependiendo en la ubicación de la lesión, las personas con LME pueden perder el movimiento de sus piernas (paraplejía) o en sus piernas y brazos (tetraplejía). La alta tetraplejía, la forma más severa de lesión, puede causar parálisis completa debajo del cuello y puede limitar la habilidad de la persona de usar sus manos y dedos.

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What Kinds of Electronic Devices do People with Spinal Cord Injury Use?

A spinal cord injury (SCI) is damage anywhere along the spinal cord from an accident or other trauma. Depending on the injury’s location, people with SCI may lose movement in their legs (paraplegia) or in their legs and arms (tetraplegia) in varying degrees. High-level tetraplegia is caused by an injury between the first four vertebrae of the spine and is the most severe form of injury. It can cause severe limitation or total loss of a person’s ability to use his/her legs and arms, including loss of dexterity in their hands.

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Can a Chronic Disease Diagnosis Motivate Healthy Lifestyle Changes?

According to the U.S. Census, an estimated 80% of adults 65 and older have at least one chronic disease, and about half have at least two. Some of the most common chronic diseases include diabetes, heart disease, cancer, lung disease, and stroke. These conditions can lead to disabilities which may impact people’s ability to live, work, and participate independently in their communities. People can reduce the impact of these chronic diseases by engaging in healthy behaviors as they age.

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