Published in Chicago Tribune, by Terri Yablonsky Stat:
Chicago, IL - Michaelene Needham, 44, of Northbrook has
multiple sclerosis and relied on a cane and then a walker for years. Now the
mother of three is finding new mobility and energy for her busy life.
Needham, like other people with upper motor neuron injuries including stroke,
spinal cord injury and cerebral palsy, can now walk with greater ease using the
Walk-Aide System. The WalkAide is an orthotic device made by Innovative
Neurotronics that helps people with foot drop, a condition that inhibits a
person's ability to raise the front part of the foot.
To read more of this
Featured nationally on Good Morning America in January, the WalkAide
is about the size of an iPod and is worn around the calf. Using a patented
sensor technology called an accelerometer and transmitting data through a
Bluetooth connection, the WalkAide sends low level electrical signals directly
to a motor nerve in the leg, stimulating the muscles to raise the patient's foot
at the appropriate time in the gait cycle.
A study published in the September 2006 edition of the peer-reviewed journal
Neurorehabilitation and Neural Repair reports the walking speed of
patients wearing the WalkAide increased 15% after three months of use, 32% after
six months, and nearly 50% after 12 months. The study also showed the number of
steps taken per day by WalkAide users increased significantly over the year.