WEST ORANGE, N.J., Feb. 3, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Kessler Foundation, a global leader in rehabilitation research, announced today that it will use the Ekso GT™ of Ekso Bionics (OTCQB:EKSO) in a multi-center randomized controlled trial (RCT) funded by a federal grant to develop new applications for wearable robotic exoskeletons (RE). The study will explore the clinical, functional and neurophysiological effectiveness of RE-assisted early intervention gait therapy with stroke patients. Researchers are looking to measure and build upon the early evidence showing improvements in functional independence measure (FIM) and neurophysiological outcomes in stroke patients who use the Ekso GT.
"We are encouraged by our preliminary data demonstrating functional improvements in participants who gait train using Ekso GT and are excited to expand our research to help further validate our early findings," said Karen J. Nolan, PhD, Senior Research Scientist in Human Performance and Engineering Research at Kessler Foundation. "The findings of this multi-center RCT will have the potential to make a significant impact on the utilization of RE technology to advance stroke rehabilitation."
The research project, entitled Robotic Exoskeleton Gait Training during Acute Stroke Rehabilitation, will enroll 96 inpatients at Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation who are within two weeks of stroke onset. Participants will be randomly assigned to one of three groups (32 subjects per group): RE, traditional gait training/standard of care (SOC), or crossover group (RE-SOC). Each intervention group will have two phases: the inpatient phase and the outpatient phase.
With this study, Kessler Foundation aims to further investigate the value of robotic exoskeletons, such as the Ekso GT, in post stroke rehabilitation. The Ekso GT with smart Variable Assist™ software is the only exoskeleton available in rehabilitation institutions that can provide adaptive amounts of power, and challenge, to either side of the patient's body, which may help to improve rehabilitation outcomes.
This project is one of five joint projects of Kessler Foundation and the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) recently funded by a $5 million federal grant from the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living and Rehabilitation Research entitled, Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center (RERC) on Wearable Robots (NIDILRR #90RE5021-01-00). The principal investigator (PI) is Richard Foulds, PhD, associate professor of bioengineering at NJIT. Co-PI is Guang Yue, PhD, director of Human Performance & Engineering Research at Kessler Foundation.
This RERC grant provides $2 million for the application of the Ekso GT in brain injury and spinal cord injury. Since April 2014, Kessler Foundation has received $1.3 million in grants to study the Ekso GT in brain injury.
This research project will include educational and training activities for therapists, physicians and doctoral researchers to help communicate to this medical community the broad benefits of commercial and experimental wearable robots.
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. Follow Kessler Foundation on Facebook, Twitter (@KesslerFdn) and YouTube.
One of the nation's leading public technological universities, New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) is a top-tier research university that prepares students to become leaders in the technology-dependent economy of the 21st century. NJIT's multidisciplinary curriculum and computing-intensive approach to education provide technological proficiency, business acumen and leadership skills. NJIT is a global leader in such fields as solar research, nanotechnology, resilient design, tissue engineering and cyber-security, in addition to others. The NJIT Biomedical Engineering Department has the largest combined enrollment of BS, MS and Ph.D. students in the mid-Atlantic region, and its Ph.D. program is ranked 26th in the nation by the National Research Council. Visit http://www.njit.edu/ for additional information.
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.
Ekso Bionics is headquartered in Richmond, CA and is listed on the OTC QB under the symbol EKSO. www.eksobionics.com
CONTACT: Carolann Murphy, 973.324.8382; Cmurphy@KesslerFoundation.org