The New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center has just announced that its clinicians are implementing a novel device called NESS H200™ to help status-post stroke patients do many everyday activities, “from opening a door to washing themselves.”
The device, manufactured by Bioness Inc. of Santa Clarita, Calif., was originally designed by Israeli-based NESS Ltd., which provides the following information about its technology:
Functional electrical stimulation (FES) is a medical technology using the application of low-level electrical impulses to various structures of the body. In rehabilitation, FES is primarily used for activating the neuromuscular system.
FES may be used for purely functional, or therapeutic purposes. Functional use implies the activation or enhancement of motion in a functional activity as a replacement for lost or impaired motor control. Using the Handmaster for grasping a cup for drinking is an example of the functional application of FES. Therapeutic use is directed towards lessening impairments, prevention of secondary complications, or halting progression of a disabling condition. Therapeutic FES includes strengthening muscles, lessening of spasticity, preventing muscle atrophy, and improving regional blood flow.
The NESS H200 (formerly The Handmaster) is a breakthrough development in the application of FES. It has simplified use of FES technology for both function, and therapeutic benefits, it also has allowed for combining the two indications as a neuroprosthesis and therapeutic modality.
The NESS H200 system is a portable, non-invasive, hand-wrist othosis (WHO) and open-loop neuroprosthesis utilizing microprocessor controlled stimulation.The spiral WHO has a self-adjusting fit, holds the wrist and hand in a functional posture, and provides gentle forearm compression. The stimulator generates five different modes of phased patterned stimulation, for exercise and functional activities. There is an array of electrodes, custom placed in the orthosis, to give reproducible placement over the motor points each time the system is used. The control of hand and wrist positioning allows for the generated movements to occur in isolation from the synergy movement patterns. The system is easily used in the home, with no technical expertise needed. It is non-invasive, and the patient is able to start using the system at home immediately following an initial setup and training session. The high tech design of the system does not carry the stigma of a ‘medical brace’, and has been readily accepted by patients of all ages.