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Kessler is the First Rehabilitation Center in the Nation to Use New Robotic Gait Training System
Date:7/13/2011

WEST ORANGE, N.J., July 13, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Kessler Foundation (www.kesslerfoundation.org) and Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation (www.kessler-rehab.com) are the first rehabilitation centers in the U.S. to implement the new LokomatPro V6, an advanced robotic training system designed to improve mobility in individuals with  spinal cord injury, brain injury, stroke, multiple sclerosis or other neurological diseases. This new system, developed by Hocoma (http://www.hocoma.com/en/), a Swiss-based manufacturer, offers appropriate patients an intensive program of activity-based therapy that has been shown to improve overall function, movement and walking.

(Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20110713/NY34254 )

"Robotic therapy is a new frontier in the treatment of individuals with spinal cord injury, stroke and other conditions that result in motor deficits," explained Steven Kirshblum, M.D., Medical Director and Director of Spinal Cord Injury Services at Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation (http://bit.ly/oOi1Ek). "The Lokomat is one device that is helping to take locomotor training to a new level. This new system will offer patients greater range of motion, variable speeds and augmented feedback, which allows users to visualize themselves walking in a variety of environments, all of which can contribute to greater functional gains. In addition, we will be studying its role in helping to prevent secondary complications of paralysis by improving strength, mobility, respiratory and bladder function, circulation and bone density."

The LokomatPro will be used collaboratively by Kessler's clinical and research teams.  Gail Forrest, Ph.D., Interim Director of Human Performance and Movement Analysis Research at Kessler Foundation (http://bit.ly/qady6f), said, "The real advantage of our unique collaboration with Kessler Institute is that our researchers can work with the clinicians to collect data while patients have access to innovative interventions. The feedback we get from patients, therapists and our research scientists will help us to further refine and tailor treatment and foster new areas of research."

Researchers at Kessler will use the LokomatPro's investigative tools to facilitate the collection of more quantifiable data about the recovery of function using this robotic device. They also plan to share the results of their advanced research with Hocoma, which, according to Dr. Forrest, could "potentially lead to further modifications or developments of the system's hardware and software, enable more rapid adaptations and enhance its applications in gait training research and rehabilitation."

The LokomatPro integrates a treadmill, harness, robotic leg supports and augmented feedback to optimize the therapy experience. The patient is harnessed within the robotic exoskeleton over the treadmill and, once the machine is powered, leg supports move the individual's legs in a walking motion. Augmented feedback enables users to visualize themselves walking in virtual environments, such as in a park or on a beach, a new feature designed to motivate and improve performance.

All of the components of the LokomatPro are adjustable, including the height, walking speed and loading on the feet. Sensory feedback enables the system to adjust to the degree of assistance required by each individual. While the Lokomat brand has been on the market since 2001, the LokomatPro is the first to offer touch screen controls and upgradable hardware and software that will increase the system's capabilities.

About the Kessler Foundation

Kessler Foundation's fundamental strategy is to link science and grantsmanship so that people with disabilities can lead more productive, independent and fulfilling lives. Kessler Foundation Research Center conducts research that improves quality of life for persons with injuries of the spinal cord and brain, stroke, multiple sclerosis and other chronic neurological and orthopedic conditions. Kessler Foundation Program Center has provided more than $20 million in funding to a variety of employment-related projects that are benefitting veterans, young adults, students and others who are dealing with physical and cognitive disabilities. Kessler Foundation, the largest public charity supporting people with disabilities, is based in West Orange, New Jersey.

For more information, visit www.KesslerFoundation.org.

About Kessler Institute

Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation, a division of Select Medical, provides comprehensive care and specialized treatment to address the complex needs of individuals with spinal cord injury, brain injury, stroke, amputation, neurological disorders and orthopedic conditions. Kessler is one of only six federally-designated Model Systems in the nation for the treatment and research of both traumatic brain and spinal cord injuries and is ranked as one of the top two rehabilitation hospitals in the nation and the leading hospital of its kind in the East by U.S. News & World Report.  Kessler has three hospital campuses in West Orange, Saddle Brook and Chester, N.J., and more than 80 outpatient centers throughout the state.

For more information, visit www.kessler-rehab.com.


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