|NEWSRoom | Source: Hanger Orthopedic Group, Inc.|
Innovative Neurotronics, a Subsidiary of Hanger Orthopedic Group, Earns the 2007 da Vinci Award for the WalkAide System
Prestigious Award Honors Adaptive and Assistive Technologies
The National Multiple Sclerosis Society (NMSS) announced Innovative Neurotronics, a subsidiary of Hanger Orthopedic Group, earned the esteemed da Vinci Award(R) for Adaptive Technologies for its product, the WalkAide(R) System. In the spirit of the 15th century artist and visionary Leonardo da Vinci, the da Vinci Awards, founded by the NMSS, honor outstanding engineering achievements in adaptive and assistive technology that provide solutions to accessibility issues for people with disabilities.
"The significance of this prestigious honor is magnified because it's bestowed upon us by a national organization that represents many of our patients, people living with multiple sclerosis," President of Innovative Neurotronics Jeff Martin said. "Validation of the efficacy and importance of the WalkAide by our patients and their advocates motivates and inspires us to continue on our mission of restoring functionality to those with neuromuscular impairment."
According to the NMSS, the recognition drives the marketplace to stimulate investment in and development of further creative advances, ultimately enabling everyone to participate and contribute in all aspects of society.
"Having struggled with MS walking-related limitations for 17 years, I was thrilled to read about WalkAide," said Ann Serafin, a member of the da Vinci Awards Committee and the National MS Society Advocacy Committee. "To paraphrase a famous quotation -- one small step for a woman, one giant leap for persons with MS."
Presented by General Motors, and chaired by Chet Huber, President of OnStar Corporation, the 2007 da Vinci Awards presentation ceremony will be held at The Ritz-Carlton Hotel, Dearborn, Michigan, on Friday, September 28, 2007. Funds raised through these awards support the NMSS in their continuing efforts to aid those affected by multiple sclerosis.
Launched in May 2006, the WalkAide System employs functional electrical stimulation to treat foot drop due to multiple sclerosis, stroke, spinal cord injury, traumatic brain injury, and cerebral palsy. By 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. The AA battery-operated device does not require surgery, external wires, or shoes.
A study published in the September 2006 issue of the peer-reviewed journal Neurorehabilitation and Neural Repair suggests the WalkAide can reveal hidden potential for additional patient recovery and mobility. The walking speed of patients wearing the WalkAide increased by 15% after three months. With continued usage, patients' walking speed increased by 32% after six months and by nearly 50% after twelve months. The study also showed the number of steps taken per day by WalkAide users increased significantly over the year.
Hanger Orthopedic Group, Inc., headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland, is the world's premier provider of orthotic and prosthetic patient care services. For more information on Innovative Neurotronics, Inc. or the WalkAide, visit http://www.ininc.us. For more information on Hanger, visit http://www.hanger.com.
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