New Implant Helps Man Cough
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
August 2, 2005
CLEVELAND, OHIO--Ronnie Moore can cough.
More precisely, Moore can make himself cough either just once or three times in a row, thanks to an experimental device now implanted in his spine.
This is no small thing to the 52-year-old man whose spine was injured in a car accident seven years ago, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reported.
A few weeks ago, doctors involved in a five-year, $1.5 million project, implanted electrodes near the surface of Moore's spinal cord. The electrodes then were connected by wires to a receiver installed under the skin below Moore's ribcage.
When Moore presses a pencil onto the # 1 on a black control box on the tray of his wheelchair, a signal is transmitted to the receiver, causing his abdominal muscles to contract and for him to cough. When he presses # 2, it makes a series of three coughs.
"I feel air moving out of my throat," Moore said.
When it is perfected, the technology could help others who experience spinal cord injuries and other physical disabilities to cough when they feel the need. This could spare many from premature death or hospitalization from respiratory infections such as bronchitis and pneumonia. It might also mean more independence for people who are in nursing homes because of worries that they might choke on their phlegm, fluids or food.
"A simple cough never sounded so sweet" (Cleveland Plain Dealer)