(January 22, 2016) Researchers from the MIRA research centre, together with the VUmc, TU Delft and the Radboud umc, have developed the A-Gear: a robotic arm that can support the daily activities of people suffering the muscular disease Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. They recently put the final touches to the first prototype for a discreet, body-connected support aid that can be worn under the clothing and that can support independent operation of the arm during important daily activities.
DUCHENNE MUSCULAR DYSTROPHY
Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy occurs in approximately 1 in 5000 live born boys. The muscles of Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy patients become weaker during their life. As a result, boys with Duchenne lose the ability to use their arms until, eventually, they are unable to use them at all. Medicines can slow the progress of the disease and increase the life expectancy of boys with Duchenne, which means preserving the functionality of their arms becomes even more important. There are a few support aids that can recapture the loss of muscle function in the arms, but these support aids do not compensate for the entire loss of function and can result in stigmatisation.