EUREKA (a pan-European network for market-oriented, industrial R&D) has announced that a Dutch-UK project “has developed a nerve stimulator implant that helps drop foot sufferers walk more easily and faster”.
The partners in EUREKA project E! 2526 IMPULSE have developed an implanted nerve stimulator which helps patients with drop foot to walk much better. Over 500,000 people suffer from a stroke each year in Europe and 10% of stroke victims are left with drop foot, which causes severe walking problems.
“The new system, in contrast to the surface stimulators, has an implanted component that is directly attached to the appropriate nerves, eliminating the problems of electrode placement. Also, the electrical stimulation is not painful as the stimulation current does not pass across the skin,” explains Hermens.
The project used technology developed by the UK project partner, FineTech Medical, through its work on bladder stimulation. The device is implanted during surgery and produces the dual, balanced signals required to produce the correct walking action.
A clinical trial is currently testing the device and patients’ reactions to it. Feedback is excellent – patients are able to walk better, faster and further, with a more normal gait.
Although the device is a world first and is expected to generate a market of 30,000 units a year, the partners first have to explain the benefits to patients and demonstrate the surgical procedure to clinicians.
More at the Project E! 2526 IMPULSE…