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

New technology that is revealing the science of chewing

20 hours ago

CSIRO's 3D mastication modelling, demonstrated for the first time in Melbourne today, is starting to provide researchers with new understanding of how to reduce salt, sugar and fat in food products, as well ...

After skin cancer, removable model replaces real ear

Apr 11, 2014

(HealthDay)—During his 10-year struggle with basal cell carcinoma, Henry Fiorentini emerged minus his right ear, and minus the hearing that goes with it. The good news: Today, the 56-year-old IT programmer ...

Italy scraps ban on donor-assisted reproduction

Apr 09, 2014

Italy's Constitutional Court on Wednesday struck down a Catholic Church-backed ban against assisted reproduction with sperm or egg donors that has forced thousands of sterile couples to seek help abroad.

Pot growers association launched in Jamaica

Apr 06, 2014

A group of influential Jamaicans gathered Saturday to launch an association of supposed future marijuana cultivators as momentum builds toward loosening laws prohibiting pot on the Caribbean island.

User comments