How Boston Marathon Bombing Survivors Have Inspired Medical Community

Developing technology for amputees inspired by victims of 2013 incident

Five years ago, the Boston Marathon was forever changed when an explosive device detonated near the finish line, costing three lives and causing hundreds of injuries.

17 people lost limbs or part of limbs in the explosions, and those people have been a considerable inspiration to the medical community, whose advances and discoveries stand to benefit the Boston victims in the near future.

Some victims continue to struggle with pain, while others are ready for replacement prostheses. However, the tragedy did create considerable dialogue between military and civilian surgeons on how to best care for people after the loss of a limb and create conditions where a return to normal life was possible.

Doctors have since combined improved amputation methods with more sophisticated artificial limbs in the hopes that one day, amputees will be able to use their brains to control their prostheses. A grant in funding from the Gillian Remy Stepping Strong Center for Trauma Innovation made a great deal of research possible. The foundation was launched by the family of a bombing survivor treated at Boston’s Brigham & Women’s Hospital.

“We’re systematically redesigning the body along with synthetics in order to maximize communication between the body and the machine,” said Hugh Herr, co-director of the Center for Extreme Bionics at MIT and a partner with Carty on the project. “It’s remarkably exciting.”

SOURCE: Associated Press

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