Pain relief and muscle control may become possible

Pain relief and muscle control may become possible
Posted on Tue 10 Apr 2018

A leading researcher in harnessing advancing technology and innovation is working on projects to improve treatments and interventions for people who have disabilities.

Late last year, Professor Alistair McEwan was appointed Ainsworth Chair of Technology and Innovation. This position works across the Cerebral Palsy Alliance Research Foundation and the Grace Centre for Newborn Care (The Children’s Hospital at Westmead) and sits within the Faculty of Engineering and Information Technology at the University of Sydney.

Professor McEwan accepted the position because he is passionate about improving the lives of children and people with disabilities.

“I’m investigating a range of options such as how we can use bionics, robotics and artificial intelligence to help people with cerebral palsy to live more comfortably and to stay better connected to their communities,” he says.

Projects Professor McEwan is developing include:

  • Bionic Interfaces, for example, looking at a nerve cuff to help control muscles and pain, or long-term implantable therapy that will target muscle groups to manage spasticity and pain fibres.
  • Assistive Technology such as the futuristic goal of a brain/computer interface which converts thoughts to speech. “There are ethics around this that need to be discuss with the wider community,” Professor McEwan says.
  • Big Data Analytics which includes examining neonatal intensive care data so that a machine will help clinicians predict neurological events before they happen.
  • Low Cost Devices such as a low-cost monitor to assist with resuscitation in babies for developing countries. “This could help reduce the number of babies with disabilities.”

“There are other exciting developments coming through and we continue to look for the best research and technology going on worldwide,” says Professor McEwan.

Before accepting the position as Ainsworth Chair, Professor McEwan had worked on:

  • a test to determine the risk of malnutrition in children which was funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
  • a project funded by Action Medical Research for Children to detect stroke and epilepsy
  • the use of dry electrodes to check on the progression of pregnancy.

Professor McEwan will be attending the IMPACT for CP Technology Summit 2018 in San Francisco on 3-4 May. This summit attracts the top technology and innovation thinkers from around the world. It is funded by Cerebral Palsy Alliance.

Newcastle Knights supporters recently raised over $600 for CPA through the 50-50 Charity Raffle. 

William Best, graduate of the HABIT-ILE intensive program has achieved his first profesional film role at aged13. 


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