Tricycles for paraplegic patients

Tricycles for paraplegic patients - Test driver sets world record at international race

New York/Munich, July 12, 2022 - FES, short for "functional electrostimulation", keeps paralyzed muscles working by stimulating them to contract. This method allows even paraplegic patients to stand upright and walk, though it cannot help them to maintain their balance. That, however, is not a problem when they ride tricycles. Paraplegic patients have used them in the past but have had to work too hard for a relatively modest output. To enable paraplegics to use tricycles on an everyday basis, a team of researchers at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität (LMU) Munich has developed and established new training methods for patients and techniques to adapt machines individually.

Headed by the neurologists Dr. Johann Szecsi and Professor Andreas Straube seven paraplegic volunteers enrolled in the program. With great success: They can now manage up to 2.5 kilometers (roughly 1.5 miles) per trip by tricycle.
Another breakthrough was achieved at the first international FES Sports Day at Cardiff, UK, in June. This was the first opportunity for paraplegic patients to compete on bicycles and at rowing contests. The first-ever 1000 meter tricycle race was also held. Seven out of the twelve participants from different countries reached the finish line. Among them were the two LMU Munich test drivers. Sabine Kaiser completed and Reinhardt Vetter even won the competition. He also set the world record at five minutes and four seconds. Because of this the next FES Sports Day is planned to be held in Munich. Encouraged by these results the research team is now launching a new project. They are trying to optimize training methods while working with a bigger group of paraplegics. But since FES works on paralyzed muscles in general, the team will also accept patients who are not paraplegic but suffer from diseases like multiple sclerosis and show similar symptoms.

Dr. med. Johann Szecsi
Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität (LMU) Munich
Phone: +49 89 7095-4829
Fax: +49 89 7095-4805

German University Alliance
Irmintraud Jost

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