Making a New Robotic Prosthesis a Reality

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital November 23, 2016

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Two years ago, Jim Ewing fell nearly 50 feet from a cliff while rock climbing. The injuries he sustained left him with severe damage to the bones and nerves in his left leg.

This past July, Jim decided to take part in a first-of-its-kind surgical amputation procedure with Dr. Matthew Carty, director of the Lower Extremity Transplant Program at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. In collaboration with the MIT Media Lab, who created a robotic prosthetic, and funding from the Gillian Reny Stepping Strong Center for Trauma Innovation, Jim is set to embark on a new journey that could enable his brain to interact with a specially made prosthetic.

“In its uninjured state, the human body is a dynamic machine, comprised of many moving parts that function in balance and enable us to do amazing things, like running and dancing, through the coordinated interaction of our brain and our muscles,” Dr. Carty explained in a press conference. “Traditional amputations disrupt this dynamic state. As a result, lower limb amputees lose the ability to finely control the muscles in their residual legs and, more importantly, lose the ability to perceive where their limb is in space without looking at it.” Read More »

Boston Marathon 2016: Running to Support Trauma Research

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital April 14, 2016

Margarita Ramos, MD, MPH, a research fellow in the Department of Surgery, will run her first marathon on April 18 as a member of the BWH Stepping Strong Marathon Team.

Margarita Ramos, MD, MPH, will run her first marathon on April 18 as a member of the BWH Stepping Strong Marathon Team.

Margarita Ramos, MD, MPH, a research fellow in the Brigham and Women’s Department of Surgery, will run her first marathon on April 18 as a member of the BWH Stepping Strong Marathon Team, supporting innovative trauma research and clinical care.

“I can’t wait to join thousands of runners at the Boston Marathon who believe in making a difference,” Dr. Ramos says. “It will be a day to celebrate the resilience of the human spirit.”

Dr. Ramos says she is excited to run in honor of Gillian Reny, a family friend and Boston Marathon bombing survivor, who was treated at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH). As a spectator at the 2013 Boston Marathon, Dr. Ramos quickly learned from another friend of the Renys that Gillian had been critically injured and transported to BWH. Dr. Ramos hurried to the hospital to see how she could help.

“As a trusted friend, I wanted to do everything I could to help Gillian’s family understand the steps the surgical trauma team was taking to care for her,” says Dr. Ramos. “I reviewed X-ray images with them and answered their questions. It takes a multidisciplinary medical team to care for our trauma patients, and I was glad to participate.”

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Turning Tragedy into Hope

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital April 15, 2015

Gillian Reny (second from left) and her family after the 2014 Boston Marathon

In honor of the spirit, resiliency, and strength our city showed in response to the Boston Marathon bombings on April 15, 2013, Boston’s Mayor Marty Walsh declared April 15 as One Boston Day. With this new tradition, the mayor invites Bostonians to “come together, spread goodwill throughout the city, and recommit ourselves to our deepest values.”

The bombings tested our community and our hospital as never before. But as Betsy Nabel, MD, President of Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) said, “As I reflect upon that day and our hospital-wide response, my most vivid memories are of the acts of humanity that shone through the tragedy.”

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Stepping Strong Innovator Awards – Determining the Course of Trauma Research

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital November 17, 2014

Gillian Reny nearly lost her limbs and her life during the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings.

Everyone is welcomed and encouraged to vote in this year’s first annual Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) Stepping Strong Innovator Awards, a competition that supports innovative advances in bone regeneration, limb transplantation, stem cell technology, orthopedic and plastic surgery, and bioengineering.

The competition is one of three Gillian Reny Stepping Strong Fund initiatives that have been developed to promote trauma-related research and improve trauma care. Established by the Reny family last February, the fund was inspired by their daughter Gillian, a young student and aspiring dancer who nearly lost her limbs and her life during the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings. Gillian not only survived, but also recovered the use of her legs through her own commitment and a collaborative effort among dedicated BWH physicians, rehabilitation therapists, nurses, and other specialists.

This year’s Stepping Strong Innovator Awards finalists are Indranil Sinha, MD, E.J. Caterson, MD, PhD, and Matthew Carty, MD. Their innovative research concepts include a new surgical approach to help patients with lower limb amputations achieve normal function; a wound healing technology that promotes tissue regeneration while preventing infection; and a technique that uses the body’s own stem cells to help muscles heal after traumatic injuries.

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Helping People Step Strong after Trauma

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital April 21, 2014

Gillian and her family hope that the Stepping Strong Fund helps others with traumatic injuries.

Imagine a world where patients with severe limb injuries – like survivors of the Boston Marathon bombings – could hope for better recoveries, with muscle, cartilage, and bone regenerated.

That vision draws closer every day, according to Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) researchers. They are hopeful that a new initiative, the Gillian Reny Stepping Strong Fund, will fuel breakthroughs for patients with traumatic, athletic, military, and disease-related injuries.

A year ago, Audrey Epstein Reny and Steven Reny were standing near the Boston Marathon finish line with their daughter Gillian, cheering on the runners and waiting for their oldest daughter Danielle to cross. When the bombs went off, the Renys were among the many innocent bystanders who were injured, Gillian critically.

The family was rushed to BWH, where clinicians worked to save Gillian’s life — and both of her legs. On that tragic day, dozens of patients were treated at BWH for similar injuries.

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