Abu Dhabi: A 20-year-old Emirati law student is once again regaining the ability to move without assistance, following the development of a specialised therapeutic programme for her at a hospital here.
Amira, an International Law graduate, had been becoming increasingly immobile due to a rare genetic condition known as Friedreich ataxia. The incurable condition causes progressive nervous system damage and impairs mobility.
She took her concerns to the Sheikh Khalifa Medical City (SKMC), where a team at the Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Unit developed a personalised intensive treatment plan. The treatment included the use of a highly specialised exoskeleton device — a Lokomat, which is designed to provide gait training for patients learning to walk again.
The Lokomat device helps to support the body’s walking movements, with patients’ legs guided to achieve normal muscle movements while on a treadmill. The intelligent device uses sensors to closely monitor movement, providing valuable feedback to the therapist throughout the session, which guides and maximises the effect of the training.
Quality of life
“We are proud to be able to offer a world-class therapeutic programme for our patients and community. We are constantly looking for ways to utilise the latest advancements and technologies to increase the quality of our care and the patients’ clinical outcomes. This cutting-edge technology, along with the hands-on therapy provided by our highly qualified clinical experts, provides a unique opportunity to our patients who experience severely disabling injuries and illnesses,” said Dr Nawal Al Kaabi, SKMC’s chief medical officer.
Nivin Nabil Zayton, senior physiotherapist at SKMC, said the aim was to provide a holistic, compassionate treatment experience that improves patient’s quality of life and relieves pain.
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“Gaining my life back was a dream to me. I am able to now move with minimal assistance. The journey wasn’t easy, but looking back at what I have achieved, I can say it is worth every drop of sweat,” Amira herself said.
She still faces a long recovery process, but her therapists have said her strength and resilience will help her reach her recovery goals.