Making Connections at the HIMSS Innovation Center

Many activities happen each day at the HIMSS Innovation Center and surrounding floors of the Global Center for Health Innovation and Huntington Convention Center. People interact with and get to know each other through these events.

On Sept.  15, the Huntington Convention Center welcomed Michael McClellan from Roseville, Calif. to train for the first Cyborg Olympics in Zurich, Switzerland on Oct. 8.   Accompanying Michael  were four staff members from the Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center who worked with Michael to make adjustments both on his bike and implant.  They are:

  • Dr. Ronald Triolo, neural engineer;
  • Vi Huynh, operations;
  • Lisa Lombardo, physical therapist), and
  • Kevin Foglyano, programmer.

In 2009, McClellan was in a motorcycle accident that damaged his spine.   He was paralyzed from T11 down. His legs weren’t injured, but movement commands from his brain can’t pass through the damaged spinal nerves to reach them. 

He volunteered in 2011 to receive an implant with a functional electrical stimulation (FES).  This device helps people with spinal cord injuries by deploying pulses of electricity to activate the leg nerves that control otherwise dormant muscles. These jolts crudely mimic the electrical signals that would normally travel from the brain and through the spinal cord to reach the peripheral nerves. When not competing, the systems help the pilots to stand, walk, maintain balance and posture as well as other daily functions.

This event and the research is a part of a collaborative effort between engineers, scientists and medical professionals from Case Western Reserve University, Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center, University Hospitals Case Medical Center and MetroHealth Medical Center. 

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