Big Meaning in the Smallest Movements

June 3, 2011

Big Meaning in the Smallest Movements

BU Today | June 2, 2011 | By Robin Berghaus

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Born with spastic quadriplegia and cerebral palsy, 49-year-old Rick Hoyt has never been able to speak or use his hands to write. But that doesn’t mean he can’t communicate.

Hoyt (left, SED’93), who is best known for competing in more than 1,000 races, pushed in a wheelchair by his father, Dick Hoyt, is testing assistive technology developed through a decadelong collaboration between Margrit Betke, a College of Arts & Sciences associate professor of computer science, and James Gips, a Boston College professor of computer science, with help from more than 50 students.

Camera Mouse, a tool for people with medical conditions such as cerebral palsy, spinal muscular atrophy, ALS, multiple sclerosis, and traumatic brain injury, employs a computer webcam to lock onto and track a chosen section of the user’s face—a nostril or the tip of an eyebrow, for example—and then links that person’s head movement to a cursor on the screen. Move right and the cursor goes right. If Hoyt pauses for more than one second, dwelling over a button or link, it clicks to active.

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‘The Amazing Race’ meets ‘Survivor’ in Lowell — and it’s all for charity

May 31, 2011

‘The Amazing Race’ meets ‘Survivor’ in Lowell — and it’s all for charity

LOWELL — Ever worn a bologna mask? Careened down a 200-foot Slip and Slide covered in chocolate syrup and soap bubbles? Kissed a dog’s um … hindquarters?

No? Well, then you’ve never participated in SmithFest.

“It is like a mix of The Amazing Race, Survivor and the craziest scavenger hunt you could ever imagine,” Fred Smith, 31, says of the massive, one-day extravaganza that last year raised $5,000 for Kids in Disability Sports.

This year, the event, scheduled for Oct. 1 at Lowell Memorial Auditorium, will benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Massachusetts and Rhode Island, and Families of Spinal Muscular Atrophy.

The latter is in honor of Coby Kulis, the 5-month-old son of Dave and Lori Kulis of Methuen who died of the devastating motor neuron disease earlier his year. SMA is the number-one genetic killer of children under the age of 2, affecting 1 in every 6,000 babies.

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Child’s death inspires half marathon runners

March 8, 2011

Child’s death inspires half marathon runners

SouthCoastTODAY.com | March 8, 2011 | By Don Cuddy

NEW BEDFORD — It is difficult to imagine the grief that accompanies the death of a 2-year-old child. But the Simmons family of New Bedford has found solace in the knowledge that the loss of their son, Owen, to a childhood disease in 2009 has inspired dozens of men and women to get out and train for this year’s New Bedford Half Marathon.

The runners are dedicating their efforts to raise awareness of spinal muscular atrophy, a leading cause of death in infants and toddlers. One in 6,000 babies is born with SMA, a motor neuron disease that attacks voluntary muscle movement and leaves children trapped inside their own bodies.

Many of the runners are novices but have drawn inspiration from the leadership of Stephen Taylor, a resource police officer at New Bedford High School. Andrew Simmons, Owen’s father, is a New Bedford police detective and a colleague of Taylor.

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Repligen’s Promising Potential in 2011

December 23, 2010

Repligen’s Promising Potential in 2011

Seeking Alpha | December 24, 2010 | By Patrick Crutcher

Repligen Corporation (RGEN) is another attractive biotech that has revenues, cash and pending data in early 2011. With pending Phase 2 and Phase 3 data, Repligen seems set for a transformative 2011. Specifically, it has two important clinical catalysts in Q1 2011: Phase 3 data for RG1068 (pancreatic imaging agent) and Phase 2b data for its bipolar drug (RG2417). Both of these catalysts have the potential to take RGEN to new levels in 2011.

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