Upgraded Ekso to advance study of mobility in spinal cord injury

Kessler Foundation has begun testing the upgraded Ekso in individuals unable to walk due to spinal cord injury. Ekso, a wearable, battery-powered robotic exoskeletal device, has been undergoing clinical investigation at Kessler since October 2011, when the research team received the second commercial unit distributed by Ekso Bionics. Gail Forrest, PhD, assistant director of Human Performance and Engineering Research, directs Ekso research at the Foundation, in collaboration with Steven Kirshblum, MD, medical director at Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation.

The upgrade adds important functions, according to Ekso , which announced the availability of the upgraded Ekso on August 11. Until now, walking in Ekso meant being accompanied by two physical therapists, one of whom triggered each step. Now individuals can gradually progress to independent walking in Ekso by advancing through three levels that enable progressively greater user control. Of interest to researchers is another new feature called EksoPulse. EksoPulse collects usage data for each user and archives it on a secure cloud server, enabling documentation of individuals' progress.

"These upgrades have important implications for clinicians and researchers," noted Dr. Forrest. "Automating data collection and enabling greater independence during therapy are improvements that will advance the pace of our research while enabling greater progress for with spinal cord injury." Data collection also helps provide the documentation necessary to prove the efficacy of Ekso therapy for insurers that reimburse for rehabilitative care.

Dr. Forrest's team also collects key data on the impact of Ekso training on (eg, cardiovascular, muscle activity), quality of life, and chronic pain. "Individuals with spinal cord injury face years of secondary complications, such as pain, , depression, bowel and bladder dysfunction, and increased risk for cardiovascular disease," noted Dr. Forrest. "That's why we're looking beyond the abilities to stand and walk to the potential long-term effects of these activities on health and well being."

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Spinal cord treatment offers hope

Nov 18, 2011

Queensland University of Technology (QUT) researchers have developed a promising new treatment for spinal cord injury in animals, which could eventually prevent paralysis in thousands of people worldwide every ...

Promising new nanotechnology for spinal cord injury

Apr 02, 2008

A spinal cord injury often leads to permanent paralysis and loss of sensation below the site of the injury because the damaged nerve fibers can't regenerate. The nerve fibers or axons have the capacity to grow again, but ...

Recommended for you

Doctor behind 'free radical' aging theory dies

15 hours ago

Dr. Denham Harman, a renowned scientist who developed the most widely accepted theory on aging that's now used to study cancer, Alzheimer's disease and other illnesses, has died in Nebraska at age 98.

Mexican boy who had massive tumor recovering

Nov 25, 2014

An 11-year-old Mexican boy who had pieces of a massive tumor removed and who drew international attention after U.S. officials helped him get treatment in the southwestern U.S. state of New Mexico is still recovering after ...

New medical device to make the mines safer

Nov 21, 2014

Dehydration can be a serious health issue for Australia's mining industry, but a new product to be developed with input from Flinders University's Medical Device Partnering Program (MDPP) is set to more effectively ...

US family gets $6.75 million in Botox case

Nov 20, 2014

A New York couple who said Botox treatment of their son's cerebral palsy left him with life-threatening complications and sued its manufacturer won a $6.75 million verdict from a federal jury on Thursday.

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.