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Innovative Neurotronics, a Subsidiary of Hanger Orthopedic Group, Earns the 2007 da Vinci Award for the WalkAide System

Prestigious award honors adaptive and assistive technologies

BETHESDA, Md., Sept. 17 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- The National Multiple Sclerosis Society (NMSS) announced Innovative Neurotronics, a subsidiary of Hanger Orthopedic Group, earned the esteemed da Vinci Award(R) for Adaptive Technologies for its product, the WalkAide(R) System. In the spirit of the 15th century artist and visionary Leonardo da Vinci, the da Vinci Awards, founded by the NMSS, honor outstanding engineering achievements in adaptive and assistive technology that provide solutions to accessibility issues for people with disabilities.

"The significance of this prestigious honor is magnified because it's bestowed upon us by a national organization that represents many of our patients, people living with multiple sclerosis," President of Innovative Neurotronics Jeff Martin said. "Validation of the efficacy and importance of the WalkAide by our patients and their advocates motivates and inspires us to continue on our mission of restoring functionality to those with neuromuscular impairment."

According to the NMSS, the recognition drives the marketplace to stimulate investment in and development of further creative advances, ultimately enabling everyone to participate and contribute in all aspects of society.

"Having struggled with MS walking-related limitations for 17 years, I was thrilled to read about WalkAide," said Ann Serafin, a member of the da Vinci Awards Committee and the National MS Society Advocacy Committee. "To paraphrase a famous quotation -- one small step for a woman, one giant leap for persons with MS."

Presented by General Motors, and chaired by Chet Huber, President of OnStar Corporation, the 2007 da Vinci Awards presentation ceremony will be held at The Ritz-Carlton Hotel, Dearborn, MI, on Friday, September 28, 2007. Funds raised through these awards support the NMSS in their continuing efforts to aid those affected by multiple sclerosis.

Launched in May 2006, the WalkAide System employs functional electrical stimulation to treat a form of paralysis known as "foot drop" due to multiple sclerosis, stroke, spinal cord injury, traumatic brain injury, and cerebral palsy. By using a patented sensor technology called an accelerometer and transmitting data through a Bluetooth connection, the WalkAide sends low level electrical signals directly to a motor nerve in the leg, stimulating the muscles to raise the patient's foot at the appropriate time in the gait cycle. The AA battery-operated device does not require surgery, external wires, or shoes.

A study published in the September 2006 issue of the peer-reviewed journal Neurorehabilitation and Neural Repair suggests the WalkAide can reveal hidden potential for additional patient recovery and mobility. The walking speed of patients wearing the WalkAide increased by 15% after three months. 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.

About Hanger: Hanger Orthopedic Group, Inc., headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland, is the world's premier provider of orthotic and prosthetic patient care services. Hanger is the market leader in the United States, owning and operating 621 patient care centers in 45 states and the District of Columbia, with 3,502 employees including 1,029 practitioners (as of 6/30/07). Hanger is organized into four units. The two key operating units are patient care which consists of nationwide orthotic and prosthetic practice centers and distribution which consists of distribution centers managing the supply chain of orthotic and prosthetic componentry to Hanger and third party patient care centers. The third is Linkia which is the first and only provider network management company for the orthotics and prosthetics industry. The fourth unit, Innovative Neurotronics, introduces emerging neuromuscular technologies developed through independent research in a collaborative effort with industry suppliers worldwide. For more information on Innovative Neurotronics, Inc. or the WalkAide, visit For more information on Hanger, visit

About the National MS Society: MS stops people from moving. The National MS Society exists to make sure it doesn't. We help each person address the challenges of living with MS through our 50 state network chapters. Proceeds from the da Vinci Awards have totaled more than $1.4 million and benefit the National MS Society Michigan Chapter. Sponsorships and individual contributions are welcome. For details, please contact the National MS Society at 248-936-0349 or visit The Society is dedicated to achieving a world free of MS. We are people who want to do something about MS now. Join the movement at

Certain statements included in this press release are forward looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Please refer to the Company's SEC filings for factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from the Company's expectations.

Contacts: Jennifer Bittner, 301-280-4869,

George McHenry, 301-280-4500,

SOURCE Hanger Orthopedic Group, Inc.
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