Thursday, January 04, 2007

Electrical Stimulation Combats Lower Limb Paralysis

New Hope for Stroke Survivors
January 4, 2007 - 7:03 AM

BETHESDA, Md., Jan. 3 /PRNewswire/ -- Stroke is the No. 1 cause of serious disability in adults in the United States. One in seven Americans will suffer a stroke. Many stroke survivors face months of rehabilitation and a lifetime of pain and paralysis.

Now there's hope. A growing number of patients nationwide are regaining mobility thanks to a new medical device called the WalkAide that uses electrical stimulation to restore functionality to patients with paralysis.

Cleared by the FDA in September 2005 and made available in the second half of 2006, the WalkAide by Innovative Neurotronics combats a form of paralysis known as "foot drop" due to stroke, spinal cord injury, traumatic brain injury, and other pathologies such as multiple sclerosis and cerebral palsy. Nearly 10.5 million people in the United States may benefit from this new technology.

By applying low level electrical currents directly to a motor nerve in the leg, the WalkAide instructs the muscle to flex the foot so the patient can walk more normally. Contrary to traditional therapies that require the patient to spend hours in hospitals or rehabilitation facilities, the WalkAide is portable and wireless. About the size of a cell phone, the wireless device is worn around the leg, just below the knee.

A study published in the September 2006 issue of the peer-reviewed journal Neurorehabilitation and Neural Repair challenges the way we've been rehabilitating stroke survivors for years. The study identifies a trend that suggests traditional rehabilitation is stopped before patients have reached their full potential for recovery. It also suggests the WalkAide can reveal hidden potential for additional patient recovery.

Traditional programs discharge patients three months post-stroke, as it is generally accepted that a stroke survivor's potential for recovery plateaus around the twelve week mark. This leaves little hope for additional improvement after that time. However, the results of this study produced encouraging results that challenge the traditional belief.

At the traditional three month mark, when rehabilitation is typically stopped, the walking speed of patients wearing the WalkAide increased by 15%. With continued usage, patients' walking speed increased by 32% after six months and by nearly 50% after twelve months. The study also showed the number of steps taken per day by WalkAide users increased significantly over the year. WalkAide patients are seeing an increase in mobility months and years after the traditional rehabilitation programs have ended, leaving much hope for future improvements.

Contact: Jennifer Bittner, 301-280-4869

Source: Innovative Neurotronics

CONTACT: Jennifer Bittner, +1-301-280-4869,, for
Innovative Neurotronics

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