acute flaccid myelitis

Beaumont Boy With Rare Condition to Get Robotic Arm

A rare polio-like illness left him paralyzed, and now a team from Southern Methodist University hopes a robotic arm will help in his recovery

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In 2016, NBC 5 introduced you to Braden Scott of Beaumont.

He was 5 years old at the time he came down with acute flaccid myelitis, a rare condition that affects the nervous system.

In a matter of a matter of weeks, he went from an being active child to being able to move only a few fingers.

He is one of the 600 children since 2014 who have contracted AFM, which has no known cause.

Three years of physical therapy and procedures, and he is closer than ever to a full recovery.

A team of engineers from SMU is giving him a help hand.

Edmond Richer, a professor of mechanical engineering at SMU developed a robotic arm for Scott.

It reads Scott's neurosignals -- the signals the brain sends to the muscles. While the muscles can't respond to the signals, the robotic arm can.

Five-year-old Braden Scott, in Dallas for treatment from a polio-like illness, shows more signs of recovery, his mother writes.

Scott can control it with his mind.

"We read the intention of motion and then we translate that into the robotic arm, which is going to do the movement for him," Richer said.

It's one of two arms Richer is creating in his lab, which focuses on robotics that help people with disabilities.

Richer said the second arm will hopefully be able to read Scott's intention of movement directly from the brain, versus his arm muscles, which would help him move his shoulder, wrist and elbow.

"Just to be able to to see that he can raise and lower his arm with his own stimulation is awesome!" said Sol Scott, Braden's father. "And one day we hope it'll be because he has the strength to do it!

Braden Scott said he thought it was pretty awesome too.

"It's like the day I got my Nintendo switch. I was like jumping for joy," he said.

Some AFM patients make a full recovery and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is actively investigating the disease.

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