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Making a stand for a better quality of life

NR Times reports on the rising force of the stand-up wheelchair.



Greater independence and several proven health benefits have contributed to growing global interest in stand-up wheelchairs, says C.Y. Cheung, founder of Wheelchair88.

His Malaysia-based firm produces four stand-up wheelchair models, which are sold internationally and are becoming increasingly popular.

Part of their appeal is the practical differences they can make to an individual’s life. Using gym equipment, withdrawing from
cash machines and reaching for high shelves in supermarkets are some of the weekly tasks made possible by being raised from a seating to a standing position.

Then there are the psychological differences; standing face-to-face and eye-to-eye with peers, loved ones and colleagues can improve mood, confidence and self-esteem, Cheung says.

The possible health benefits are perhaps the biggest draw, however.

Standing rather than sitting can improve blood circulation, heart and lung function, bowel movement and bone density.

Reductions in muscle spasms, joint stiffness, tendon shrinkage and pressure sores are also reported among stand-up wheelchair users, according to Wheelchair88.

Wheelchair88 was founded in 2013 after Cheung’s father’s third stroke inspired him to create innovative solutions for people with mobility problems.

Its four models are the Leo II, Draco, Pegasus II and Phoenix II.

The Leo II is the lightest standing wheelchair in the world at only 27kg, with a foldable backrest and detachable wheels, and is used by
people who have two strong arms and mobility in their hands and fingers.

For people who only have fingers that are workable, the Pegasus II model is most suitable with its power assisted standing or sitting position activated by just one finger.

The Phoenix II is a highly accessible, fully powered wheelchair, which allows recline of up to 25 degrees, with adjustable armrest height, headrest, seat depth, leg length and footrest angle.

The Draco model builds on this even further with its lie-down function, and is particularly popular with users with diabetes or swollen legs and feet, as well as those who need frequent naps during the day.

Cheung says: “In daily life standing up talking to people face-to-face and eye-to-eye can be important. Standing wheelchairs means not sitting down all day. They help to release stress.

“Meanwhile, for someone with bedsores, standing wheelchairs are ideal in aiding recovery by enabling users to stand as frequently as possible, for as long as possible.

“Also if you go shopping you can reach the high shelves yourself,” he says.

“Because users feel more comfortable, emotionally they feel better. Sitting down all day makes you feel very unhappy, when you can walk around, relax a bit, go out into the garden, it makes you feel better. So they feel happier.”

With the exoskeleton being seen as the only real comparison to the standing wheelchair, the latter is proving more accessible on both a price and durability front.

“Exoskeleton technology is still unstable. The user must still have two strong arms in order to move on their own legs. It’s very costly, and there is still a chance of accidents,” says Cheung.

“Sometimes if you don’t handle well, you can fall. Your body has to lean forward, that’s not a good posture. These are only for users with a very strong upper body.

“Using a standing wheelchair, you have a knee strap, thigh strap, waist strap, chest strap, shoulder strap – so all kinds of straps. It depends on the user’s capability, we can use as little straps as we want, but most of all they
are comfortable.”

All four wheelchair models mentioned can be adjusted in terms of seat depth, leg length and foot plate angle (for stretching tendons while standing).

For more information on Wheelchair88’s range of standing wheelchairs, visit

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Video: everyday vs specialist tech

Assistive technology Expert Andy Fell joins Irwin Mitchell law firm for an in-depth exploration of the very latest independence-boosting devices and platforms.



Technology plays a day to day role in our lives and mobile phones, tablets, Alexa and Siri are common place.

Imagine the impact on your life if you were no longer able to interact with a touch screen or keyboard or give voice commands….

In this virtual event, Assistive Technology expert Andy Fell gives practical demonstrations of how everyday technology and specialist technology can be used to help give independence to those who need it most and why specialist technology may be needed.

During the event hosted by Lauren Haas, personal injury solicitor at Irwin Mitchell LLP, Andy goes into detail about what apps and gadgets are on the market, how everyday technology can be optimised such as the Amazon Alexa, and answered a number of questions ranging from touch screen sensitivity to smart watch reminders.

Case managers, ancillary medical professionals, as well as interested members in healthcare, social care, parents and clients may find this recording useful, as well as anyone caring for, working or living with people such as dementia sufferers or sufferers of other conditions which restrict their mobility.

Andy Fell is an independent disability and assistive technology (AT) consultant with almost twenty years’ experience working with all disabilities and age groups.

He is a qualified Rehabilitation Officer for the Visually Impaired and, since qualification, has lectured on the use of assistive technology and role of AT in the life of disabled people.

He has worked with a wide range of charitable organisations including British Dyslexia Association, was head of assistive technology for Guide Dogs for the Blind and National Disability Advisor for the Royal Yacht Association.

He has also worked for blue chip companies, the emergency services and various government departments including Department for Work and Pensions.

Andy is a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, chairman and founding trustee of the Wetwheels Foundation and sat on the British Dyslexia Association – Workplace Assessors Professional Review Panel.

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The relationship between music and running

By Daniel Thomas, joint managing director of Chroma Therapies.



By Daniel Thomas, joint managing director of Chroma Therapies

With its ability to produce new neural pathways, Neurologic Music Therapy is able to encourage movement, co-ordination, improve speech and language, and improve the ability to read/feel emotions, reactions and more, in people living with catastrophic injuries.

This is because music automatically connects to the brain. And this automaticity is what makes music so powerful.

Music also has to ability to push your training capabilities farther and faster especially in running.

This is why a running playlist is the ideal accompaniment to any runner.

Each songs tempo stimulates the brain, evoking a running response of either a faster pace or a steady rhythm depending on what you want to achieve.

For a faster pace, a good running playlist should contain songs with 150-180bpm.

Unfortunately, with not many songs out there using that speed (unless you enjoy rock, metal or speed garage for running) than the other option is to choose songs with 75-90bpm, as this tempo is perfect for a steady rhythm and maximising efficiency.

Do you recall an earlier blog where we discussed cadence and stride length using NMT for preventing falls in the elderly?

We suggested music with a high bpm count promotes movement, good cadence and walking speed, so songs like Nancy Sinatra’s ‘These Boots are Made for Walkin’, which has 85 bpm, is ideal.

BPM strongly correlates to step cadence.

Rhythmic Auditory Stimulation (RAS) is an important aspect of NMT.

Predictable rhythmic structure allows the sensori-motor system to move in sync with the beat.

This is, in essence, why music is important to runners, as it has the ability to communicate with the brain in order to help maintain a steady pace or increase speed depending on the bpm.

When it comes to mental wellbeing, we will always discuss music’s ability to improve mental wellbeing, and its effect can also be attributed to runners.

Music’s ability to improve stride, cadence and style, to produce better and better runs, and enable runners to achieve personal goals also have a positive effect upon mental wellbeing.

A sense of accomplishment. And with the right playlist, runners can end each run on a high.

We also like to discuss how NMT is more effective when it is personalised to that individual.

The same can be said in the case of a runner. A playlist that includes, not only songs with the ideal tempo for them, but also have some personal meaning, have the greatest positive effect upon runners.

The more enjoyable the run, the less fatigue is experienced. This may be due to the fact that music is able to interfere with the parts of the brain that communicate fatigue, essentially causing a distraction, so less fatigue is experienced.

For runners, the relationship between music and running can be seen to be just as effective and important as the relationship between music and recovering from a brain injury.

Its ability to improve running capability, speed, motivation, and promote mental wellbeing is what makes the difference between a run just being a run and reaching ‘Flow State’ – the mental state where the runner is in the moment of running – no distractions, and the run becomes…euphoric.

Read more: Running in the name of mental health

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Concussion could lead to depression, ADHD, dementia and Parkinson’s – study



A new study has revealed a link between concussion and the risk of being diagnosed with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, mood and anxiety disorders, dementia and Parkinson’s disease later in life.

Despite ‘clinical recovery’ from concussion typically lasting one week, a team of researchers from the University of Manitoba suspected there may be longer term effects. They used 25 years of population-based health data between 1990 and 2015, involving almost 50,000 cases of concussion from people living in Manitoba, Canada.

They found that concussion was associated with an increased risk of being diagnosed with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), mood and anxiety disorders (MADs), dementia and Parkinson’s disease.

After analysing the population data, they found that concussion was linked to an increased risk of diagnosis of ADHD, dementia and Parkinson’s.

Women who had a concussion were at greater risk of developing ADHD and MADs, but there were no differences between men and women for the risk of developing dementia or Parkinson’s.

Multiple concussions didn’t affect the risk of later being diagnosed with ADHD, but a second concussion increased the risk of dementia, while exposure to more than three concussions increased the risk of being diagnosed with MADs.

While previous studies have found links between concussion and ADHD, dementia, Parkinson’s and MADs, most have relied on patients self-reporting their symptoms, the researchers write.

However, this study can only show an association, not cause and effect.

The mechanism behind this increased risk is unknown, but the researchers state it’s possible that the pathways of some biomarkers that are dysregulated in ADHD, Mads, dementia and Parkinson’s, namely, cortisol, are also affected after a concussion.

The paper, published in the BMJ journal, states that future research is needed to explore the relationships between concussion and ADHD, MADs, dementia and Parkinson’s in other populations.

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