Navigation Links
'Exoskeleton' Helps Paralyzed Stand, Take Steps
Date:1/13/2012

By Amanda Gardner
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, Jan. 12 (HealthDay News) -- Veteran ski patrol member Mike Rhode was speeding down a snowy slope at Hunter Mountain in New York state when his ski unexpectedly popped off.

Rhode, then a member of the ski patrol for 13 years, wasn't able to regain his balance before hitting a fence. Now, tragically, he is paralyzed from the chest down.

But last October, 10 months after the accident, Rhode was able to walk again with the assistance of Ekso, a robotic "exoskeleton" that he and five other testers "wore" on their body during an initial trial, enabling them to stand up and even take steps.

"I was upright for an hour and 10 minutes and was actually walking for 31 minutes," said Rhode, 46. "It was such a positive feeling."

Ekso is one of just a few robotic "exoskeletons" giving paraplegics and quadraplegics something they may never have dreamed of before: the ability to stand and walk on their own again.

With the Ekso that Rhode tested, "the therapist controls the sit-to-stand and moving forward," explains Dr. Steven Kirshblum, medical director and director of Spinal Cord Injury Services at the Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation in West Orange, N.J.

All Rhode had to do was start pushing out of his wheelchair as he had done many times before and the Ekso, as manipulated by the therapist, did the rest.

Kessler, a leader in the field of disability rehabilitation, is one of 10 U.S. organizations partnering with Ekso Bionics to develop clinical versions of the device.

A clinical model is due out "very soon," said Kirshblum. That model will allow the individual patient to control the device, can be for home use and will have the ability to negotiate stairs, he said.

"This will occur via wireless communication between the crutches and the sensors on the exoskeleton, assuring the individual is in the appropriate position and is safe to undertake the movements," explained Kirshblum.

Ekso improves on other exoskeletons in that it doesn't use electrodes to stimulate the muscles. The problem with electrodes, Kirshblum said, is that the energy expenditure to get a muscle to contract is enormous.

With less energy required, Ekso's developers hope users can travel farther on their own.

Right now, Ekso is mainly intended for use in therapy settings, and researchers at Kessler and elsewhere will study its impact on bone strength, muscle, bowel and bladder function, blood pressure and quality of life.

Kim Anderson-Erisman, education director for the Miami Project to Cure Paralysis at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, envisions exoskeletons one day helping other types of patients, such as stroke survivors and people with traumatic brain injury or multiple sclerosis. "Anything that would lead to muscle weakness," she explained.

"This could potentially be something that they could use to help train, train their muscles and strengthen so that they might be able to eventually walk on their own," said Anderson-Erisman.

Of course, lots of research is needed first to see if exoskeletons actually help strengthen the muscles, she added.

Ekso should help people move, but will it prompt neurological recovery?

Kirshblum wasn't willing to say. But whatever its use, the price will have to come down considerably, said Anderson-Erisman.

Kirshblum also wouldn't say how much Ekso will cost, but one estimate put the price at $100,000.

"This would have to be something insurance would pay for and I don't think that's in the immediate future," said Anderson-Erisman.

This year, Kessler is embarking on a clinical trial with Ekso, a trial Rhode hopes to join.

"Hopefully, I'll be able to use it again," said Rhode, who has not used Ekso since October, when he was one of six adults, and the only quadriplegic, to test the device.

"I think it's going to be a great tool for therapy right now, to get people up and walking and weight-bearing," Rhode said. "Until possibly they do come up with a cure, it will keep people's legs strong."

More information

The National Spinal Cord Injury Association has more on this type of trauma.

SOURCES: Steven Kirshblum, M.D., medical director and director, Spinal Cord Injury Services, Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation, West Orange, N.J.; Mike Rhode, 46, Monmouth Beach, N.J.; Kim Anderson-Erisman, Ph.D., education director, Miami Project to Cure Paralysis, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine


'/>"/>
Copyright©2010 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved

Related medicine news :

1. New educational program helps the siblings of children with cancer
2. Whiff of love hormone helps monkeys show a little kindness
3. Downloadable tool helps cancer survivors plan and monitor exercise
4. Mid-lane driving helps older adults stay safe
5. If you plan, then youll do… but it helps to have a friend
6. BINGO! game helps researchers study perception deficits
7. Quantitative CT helps identify COPD patients at risk for exacerbations
8. Vitamin D Helps Bone Health Only With Calcium: Report
9. Calorie Info Helps Teens Choose Water Over Sugary Drinks
10. Online guide helps health organizations adopt electronic health records
11. In third-degree burn treatment, hydrogel helps grow new, scar-free skin
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... 13, 2017 , ... Global Healthcare Management’s 4th Annual Kids Fun Run brought ... This free event, sponsored by Global Healthcare Management’s CEO, Jon Letko, is aimed at ... towards children of all ages; it is a non-competitive, non-timed event, which is all ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... , ... “America On The Brink”: the Christian history of the United States ... creation of published author, William Nowers. Captain Nowers and his wife, Millie, have ... thirty years in the Navy. Following his career as a naval aviator and ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... , ... October 12, 2017 , ... IsoComforter, Inc. ( ... announced today the introduction of an innovative new design of the shoulder pad. ... you get maximum comfort while controlling your pain while using cold therapy. By utilizing ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... 12, 2017 , ... HMP , a leader in healthcare events and ... Eddie Digital Award for ‘Best B-to-B Healthcare Website.’ Winners were announced during the Eddie ... annual award competition recognizes editorial and design excellence across a range of sectors. This ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... 2017 , ... In the United States, single-family home owners ... New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Texas, Virginia, Connecticut, and California—the average is $7,000 ... property-tax rates, which contributes to the relatively lower cost of living in places ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:10/2/2017)... , Oct. 2, 2017 The Rebound mobile app ... struggle to reverse the tide of prescription drug addiction. The ... their medicine intake and stepping down their dosage in a ... launch in December 2017; the first 100,000 people to sign ... at http://www.rebound-solution.com/ ...
(Date:9/27/2017)... for their devotion to personalized service, SMP Pharmacy Solutions announces ... the South Florida Business Journal,s 50 Fastest-Growing Companies, and listed ... national specialty pharmacy has found its niche.  To that end, ... honored by SFBJ as the 2017 Power Leader in Health ... his award in October, Bardisa said of the three achievements, ...
(Date:9/25/2017)... PROVIDENCE, R.I. , Sept. 25, 2017 /PRNewswire/ ... immunogenicity assessment, vaccine design, and immune-engineering today announced ... focused on the development of personalized therapeutic cancer ... and has provided exclusive access to enabling technologies ... MSc Eng., MBA will lead EpiVax Oncology as ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: