Thanks to the Failure to Form blog, I read about how Northwestern University’s Dr. Todd A. Kuiken’s work to advance nerve-based prosthetics is improving. Dr. Kuiken had an email conversation with me three months after Jordan was born. I tracked him down after a friend of mine at CNN tipped me off on his work. Kuiken was incredibly kind to reply to my email. He said how his work is with adults and by the time Jordan is grown, he expects his work and the work of others to be ready for her use. I’m thrilled that the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago continues to work on these efforts. What I’d really like to see is research with congenital amputees. Would nerve-based prosthetics work if a brain has never had fingers to trigger? In watching Jordan, it might be possible. When I ask Jordan to wiggle her fingers, she wiggles her fingers and the base of her arm (and her tongue). But it may be a different reason she does that. Her occupational therapist says brain injury patients react with wiggling everything to help understand the task. That kind of took the wind out of my nerve/brain theory. But I may still be correct — But it would take research and congenital adults who would be willing to take part.
I guarantee you most congenital amputee grown ups have no interest in playing with upper-limb prosthetics. It’s just a guess. But so far, no one has even tried!!