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Kessler Foundation Expands Robotic Research in Spinal Cord Injury

Dr. Forrest Leads New Studies Using ReWalk in Persons With Spinal Cord Injury

WEST ORANGE, NJ -- (Marketwired) -- 08/12/14 -- Kessler Foundation has expanded its research in exoskeletal-assisted standing and walking with the addition of ReWalk, the robotic exoskeleton from ReWalk Robotics. The Foundation has been conducting exoskeletal research since October 2011, according to Gail Forrest, PT, PhD, assistant director of Human Performance & Engineering Research.

"The consequences of paralysis are well known," said Dr. Forrest. "Without the ability to walk, individuals rapidly lose bone mass and muscle strength. Often bowel, bladder and sexual function are adversely affected. There are long-term consequences as well, such as chronic pain, pressure ulcers, cardiovascular risk, and depression. We are very interested in how use of these devices may modulate these effects, which could improve the outlook for these individuals," said Dr. Forrest.

ReWalk comprises a wearable brace support, a computer-based control system and motion sensors. The ReWalk exoskeleton allows user-initiated, independent, controlled walking that mimics the natural gait pattern. At Kessler Foundation, ReWalk is being used in a study funded by the New Jersey Commission on Spinal Cord Injury Research, as well as in a collaborative study with the James J. Peters Medical Center. It is currently the only exoskeleton FDA-approved for rehabilitation and home use.

"Kessler Foundation is committed to improving the lives of people with disabilities," noted Rodger DeRose, president and CEO of Kessler Foundation. "Expanding our robotics research enables us to quicken the pace of advances that can be readily incorporated into the standard of care for the rehabilitation of individuals disabled by spinal cord injury, stroke and other neurological disorders."

ReWalk is being implemented in rehabilitation centers in the U.S., Europe and Israel. "The addition of a ReWalk system with the Kessler Foundation is a very important step in advancing fundamental research on the health benefits gained from exoskeletal walking," said Jodi Gricci, Vice President of Global Marketing for ReWalk Robotics. "With this technology now cleared by the FDA, we will see expanded use in the community; studies such as the work of Dr. Forrest and her team will be a key part of developing scientific data on the physiological and psychological benefits from use of these technologies."

About Robotics Research at Kessler Foundation
Robotics research is a collaborative effort of Human Performance & Engineering Research (director, Guang Yue, PhD; Gail Forrest, PT, PhD, assistant director), Spinal Cord Injury Research (director, Trevor Dyson-Hudson, MD; co-director Steven Kirshblum, MD), the Neuroimaging Center (director, John DeLuca, PhD), and Stroke Rehabilitation Research (director, A.M. Barrett, MD). Collaborators include the James J. Peters VA Medical Center, NJIT and Children's Specialized Hospital. Scientists study the application of exoskeletal devices and the Lokomat v6 robotic treadmill device in individuals with paralysis and weakness caused by spinal cord injury and stroke. Studies extend beyond measures of gait and walking ability to include the impact of exoskeletal-assisted standing and walking on secondary complications such as chronic pain, impaired bowel and bladder function, cardiovascular risks, and pressure ulcers. Funders include the Department of Defense, NJ Commission on SCI Research, Craig H. Neilsen Foundation, National Institute on Disability & Rehabilitation Research, Veterans Administration, and Kessler Foundation. Foundation scientists have faculty appointment at Rutgers-New Jersey Medical School.

About ReWalk Robotics
ReWalk Robotics (formerly Argo Medical Technologies) develops, manufactures and markets wearable robotic exoskeletons for people with lower limb disabilities, such as paraplegia. ReWalk's mission is to fundamentally change the health and life experiences of individuals with spinal cord injury. Founded in 2001, ReWalk Robotics is a global company with headquarters in the US, Germany, and Israel. For more information on ReWalk Robotics and the ReWalk Systems, please visit http://www.rewalk.com.

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; Facebook.com/KesslerFoundation; Tweet us @KesslerFdn.

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