Mt. Vernon Register-News

Community News Network

December 3, 2013

Bionic arms allow double amputee to do everyday tasks

MERRIMAC, Mass. — Thirteen-thousand eight-hundred volts of electricity shot through James Young's upper body three years ago while working as an electrical lineman, shocking him into a coma that lasted three weeks and left him with severe burns.

When he awoke, Young discovered doctors had removed his right arm above the elbow and his left arm at the shoulder, causing him to be thankful to be alive but concerned for his future as a double amputee.

Due to the miracle of  medical research, Young is now a bionic man, able to manuever prosthetic arms through two computer chips in his chest that react to what his brain and nerve impulses tell them to do.

"They replaced nerves and muscles so that they could fit me with prosthetics," said Young. "They rearranged the nerves and re-enervated them. Now I feel my hands as if they were there."

Called Pattern Recognition software, the technology was developed by a Chicago bio-engineering company, CoApt Engineering, with the notion of making amputees as self-sufficient as possible.

The 43-year-old Young underwent 16 surgeries and countless hours of therapy at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago to get where he is today. Dr. Todd Kulken of the institute developed the surgery that integrates mechanical and electrical components into the human body.

Young is still learning about how to best use his bionic arms and knows he will never replicate the wonders of the Six Million Dollar Man television show of the 1970s about an astronaut with bionic implants.

"These don't replace arms by any stretch of the imagination," said Young. "But I don't have to ask someone to do the simplest of things" -- like pick up a package, grab a bottle or do some of the other activities of daily living.

Young said his recovery and rehabilitation from near death by electrocution in September of 2010 has been a tough road, "but  I know I have done everything I can to improve my situation."

---

Elizabeth Rose is a correspondent for the Newburyport, Mass., Daily News.

 

1
Text Only
Community News Network
  • sleepchart.jpg America’s sleep-deprived cities

    Americans might run on sleep, but those living in the country's largest cities don't appear to run on much.

    August 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Africa goes medieval in its fight against Ebola

    As the Ebola epidemic claims new victims at an ever-increasing rate, African governments in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia have instituted a "cordon sanitaire," deploying troops to forcibly isolate the inhabitants in an area containing most of the cases.

    August 18, 2014

  • Democrat? Republican? There's an app for that

    If you're a Republican, you might want to think twice before buying Lipton Iced Tea, and forget about Starbucks coffee. If you're a Democrat, put down that Reese's Peanut Butter Cup, and throw away the cylinder of Quaker Oats in your pantry.

    August 18, 2014

  • Five myths about presidential vacations

    In the nuclear age, presidents may have only minutes to make a decision that could affect the entire world. They don't so much leave the White House as they take a miniature version of it with them wherever they go.

    August 15, 2014

  • weightloss.jpg The scales of injustice: Weight loss differs between men, women

    You're not imagining it: There really are differences between the way men and women diet, lose weight and respond to exercise.

    August 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • Drug dealers going corporate

    A top federal official on Tuesday said that 105 banks and credit unions are doing business with legal marijuana sellers, suggesting that federal rules giving financial institutions the go-ahead to provide services to dealers are starting to work.

    August 13, 2014

  • wwimemorial.jpg The benefit of World War I omission on the Washington Mall

    By 1982, when the Vietnam Veterans Memorial opened on the National Mall, something had shifted in the way we remember our wars. A national memorial, prominently placed on the nation's most symbolically significant public space, came to seem like an essential dignity offered to veterans, their families and the memory of those who gave their lives. But there is an exception.

    August 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • In Japan, ramen aficionados worry their favorite dish is coming off the boil

    "The ramen boom has ended," said Ivan Orkin, a New Yorker who first traveled to Japan in the 1980s and now owns two noodle-soup restaurants in Tokyo. "A boom implies that there are new avenues and new growth to pursue, and that's not the case in Japan anymore."

    August 11, 2014

  • Ronnie Ellis: U.S. Senate race trail long and interesting

    By Ronnie Ellis/CNHI News Service

    FRANKFORT — Last week was a long one, endured under the onslaught of an awful summer cold and played out across the commonwealth. It began in Fancy Farm and ended it in Corbin with a trip to Hazard in between.

    August 9, 2014

  • Senate race becomes family affair

    By LANA BELLAMY
    CNHI NEWS SERVICE
    PAINTSVILLE — U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell got personal on Friday while calling a report inaccurate concerning his wife’s role as a board member in an organization that funds anti-coal efforts.

    August 9, 2014

Twitter Updates
Facebook
Stocks