Sun. Jul 3rd, 2022
bionic limb

In every thirty seconds or so, a human being loses a limb. An amputation can result from a plethora of reasons. An unstoppable infection, cancer or even wounds can lead to an amputation. An amputation is a desperate measure; done to prevent one from dying. But the gift of life granted by amputations is cursed with the shadow of mental health ordeals. From a minimum of 32% to a maximum of 84% of amputees are seen to be dealing with mental health problems.

Along with the mental ordeals, an amputee faces a mountain of physical challenges as well. The human body is an extremely fine-tuned organism. Adapted to utilize most of its physio-anatomical prowess. Loss of a limb jeopardises the tuning and eventually leads to the loss of multiple functions. The lives of amputees, immediately after an amputation, is full of agony. For the day to day tasks, an amputee has to depend on others. On a social level, this loss of function and mobility accumulates into a disaster. This increasing load of amputations hampers the individual livelihoods and slows down the progress of societies. Prosthetics are the only option when it comes to rehabilitation from such a state.

What are bionic prostheses?

We are living in the era of neurosciences and the biggest upgrade received by prosthetics is bionics. A bionic limb is known to utilize an electrophysiological brain-machine interface and translates the wills of a wielder into gestures and actions. A bionic prosthesis is controlled by an onboard microcomputer. This computer can translate electromyographic data into gestures and actions.

A modern-day bionic prosthesis mostly features noninvasive electromyographic sensors. These sensors are placed on the skin of amputees to capture the EMG signals generated by the muscles. These signals are fed to the microcomputer and processed. The number of actions and gestures a prosthesis can perform depends on the quality and capabilities of its components.

Frustration

Frustrations are a common kind of anxiety. Failing to entertain a habit usually helps frustrations to creep in. Due to the practical nature of our anatomy, all of our organs must have some habits related to them. Loss of a limb ultimately culminates into an inability to perform favourite tasks and exercise favourite habits. If calibrated with necessary finesse, a bionic prosthesis can give back at least some amount of functionality. This regaining of abilities can help alleviate the frustrations caused by amputation.

Post-traumatic stress disorder

Post amputation trauma can be caused by multiple factors. The trauma can be of the accident itself or it can originate from the time of amputation. The only way of reducing the trauma is by regaining some of the lost abilities and performing activities required to reduce the trauma. A bionic prosthesis not only gives back the essential abilities but also empowers the wielder to extend the reach of their activities. Which might include the required activities needed for treating PTSD.

Depression

Depression in amputees often results from isolation and seclusion. An amputation is a crippling blow, able to eradicate the social livelihood of an individual. Additionally, the healing process after an amputation is relatively long. Rehabilitation using a bionic prosthesis can help in these situations. A bionic prosthesis can give back a lot of lost abilities able to provide the wielder with a social life and empowerment for necessary social interaction. However, the incubation period for wielding a prosthesis is also arduous. Only the willing individuals craving for the lives they had left behind can gather the will to take on such an incubation.

Phantom limb pain

The proper functioning of bionic limbs depends on a lot of anatomical and microanatomical modifications, like myelination and synapses. Immediately after the loss of a limb, these modifications remain active and functional. Thus, due to their presence, the brain refuses to acknowledge the loss. As a result, an amputee continues to feel their lost hand. But the lost functions remain lost and result in a frustrating experience. Often the phantom limb phenomenon emerges as severe pains.

A bionic prosthesis can alleviate the condition by providing a motor outlet for the modifications. Additionally, a bionic prosthesis can reduce the frustrations by giving back a lot of necessary abilities.

By Muhammad Hammad

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