Aug 30, 2023 - News

UA institute gets $5 million for prosthetics research

Photo: Courtesy of University of Arkansas' Institute for Integrative & Innovative Research

The Department of Defense granted the University of Arkansas' Institute for Integrative & Innovative Research (I3R) $4.9 million to expand clinical research for prosthetics that can be driven by the user's brain.

  • Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, also will be added as a clinical site for the study, a UA news release says.

Why it matters: Walter Reed is one of only three military hospitals that treat traumatic upper-body amputations. The addition will allow the clinical trial to expand.

Details: The study is testing a prosthetic system that provides the sense of touch, force and hand opening with electrical pulses through nerves of the amputated limb.

By the numbers: As of 2017, about 75% of the 1,648 U.S. service members who sustained limb loss during Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom received treatment at Walter Reed Medical Center.

  • Two participants have received the device: one in 2018 when the project was based at Florida International University and the second this year in Arkansas.

Context: I3R was established with a $194.7 million gift from the Walton Family Charitable Support Foundation, following a $23.7 million grant to boost UA's research and economic development infrastructure.

What they're saying: ​​"We're thrilled to receive such a significant grant award … continued development and evaluation of an advanced prosthetic device as a potential medical solution that restores meaningful sense of touch to individuals with upper-limb amputations," said Ranu Jung, associate vice chancellor and executive director of I3R.

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