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Pilot study will look at ability of patients with hemiplegia to stand and walk in newest robotic device from Ekso Bionics

Pilot study will look at ability of patients with hemiplegia to stand and walk in newest robotic device from Ekso Bionics

West Orange, NJ. April 10, 2014.  Kessler Foundation has acquired its second Ekso - the Ekso GT™ - the newest exoskeletal device from Ekso Bionics™. The Foundation is one of first to implement the Ekso GT, which will be studied solely in patients with hemiplegia who are less than three months post stroke. Ekso GT, a wearable bionic suit, enables individuals with lower extremity weakness to stand up and walk over ground with a natural, full weight-bearing, reciprocal gait.

Ekso has been undergoing clinical investigation in patients with spinal cord injury at Kessler Foundation since October 2011, when it received the second commercial unit distributed by Ekso Bionics. Research results are promising for the application of Ekso-assisted walking in the rehabilitation of individuals with spinal cord injury. “Much less is known about the potential for Ekso-assisted walking in the stroke population,” according to Karen Nolan, PhD, research scientist in Human Performance & Engineering Research. Dr. Nolan and Mooyeon Oh-Park, MD, assistant director of Stroke Rehabilitation Research, are in charge of the pilot study of Ekso GT. Participants are being recruited from Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation’s inpatient program.

“Our initial work will focus on training physical therapists and researchers to manipulate Ekso GT safely and effectively in patients with weakness or paralysis of the lower extremity after stroke,” said Dr. Nolan. “We’ll then look at the effects of a regimen of assisted walking in Ekso GT on a variety of parameters, including walking distance and speed, joint range of motion and muscle power. Therapists will report the amount of assistance that patients require to stand and walk in Ekso GT. We’ll also assess patients for the amount of exertion required from them, and survey them on their experience with Ekso GT.”

“Robotics is playing an increasing role in physical rehabilitation, and research is key to further progress,” said Rodger DeRose, president and CEO of Kessler Foundation. “Exploring Ekso GT in the stroke population is an exciting new avenue for our mobility researchers. With our extensive experience with the first-generation of Ekso, intensive locomotor training, and other robotic devices, the Foundation is well equipped to make substantial contributions to stroke rehabilitation research using the Ekso GT.”    

Ekso GT, designed and developed by Ekso Bionics (OTCQB:  EKSO) is designed to make it easier for clinicians to offer therapy to a wide variety of patients and provides new opportunities to explore therapeutic interventions, particularly for patients with some preservation of motor ability such as those who have experienced a stroke. Mechanical advancements in Ekso GT include easier, faster adjustment, releasable hip abduction and thigh rotation to provide patients with more freedom, adjustability at the ankle to enable a more stable gait, and a new composite foot design that encourages improved weight shifts. In addition, the Ekso GT’s software now accommodates turning in place, and has the ability to adjust software settings while patients are walking.

About Ekso Bionics

Since 2005, Ekso Bionics has been pioneering the field of robotic exoskeletons, or wearable robots, to augment human strength, endurance and mobility. The company’s first commercially available product called Ekso has helped thousands of people living with paralysis take millions of steps not otherwise possible. By designing and creating some of the most forward-thinking and innovative solutions for people looking to augment human capabilities, Ekso Bionics is helping people rethink current physical limitations and achieve the remarkable.www.eksobionics.com

About Mobility Research at Kessler Foundation

Mobility research is a collaborative effort of the scientists in Human Performance & Engineering (Guang Yue, PhD, director), Spinal Cord Injury Research (Trevor Dyson-Hudson, MD, director), and Stroke Rehabilitation Research (A.M. Barrett, MD, director).  Funding sources include National Institute on Disability & Rehabilitation Research, National Institutes of Health, NJ Commission on SCI Research, Craig H. Neilsen Foundation, the Veterans Administration, Acorda Therapeutics and Kessler Foundation.  Research modalities include activity-based therapy, gait analysis, robotic exoskeletons, robotic treadmill training, medication that improves walking, functional electrical stimulation, and wheelchair dynamics.  Mobility research emphasizes prevention of secondary complications and improvement in health and quality of life.  In 2013, Kessler  Foundation opened the Neuroimaging Center at Kessler Foundation, as well as a new state-of-the-art Gait Laboratory, expanding  the Foundation’s capability for cognitive and mobility research.  Foundation scientists have faculty appointments at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School.

About Kessler Foundation

Kessler Foundation, a major nonprofit organization in the field of disability, is a global leader in rehabilitation research that seeks to improve cognition, mobility and long-term outcomes, including employment, for people with neurological disabilities caused by diseases and injuries of the brain and spinal cord. Kessler Foundation leads the nation in funding innovative programs that expand opportunities for employment for people with disabilities. For more information, visit KesslerFoundation.org.

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Carolann Murphy, PA 973-324-8382,

Lauren Scrivo, 973-324-8384, LScrivo@KesslerFoundation.org

Submitted by cmurphy on Mon, 04/20/2015 - 15:35