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Washington U start-up develops device that helps stroke patients regain motor function using their minds

By Jesse Schwartz
Published: May 5th, 2021

A Washington University in St. Louis (WUSTL) start-up has developed a device that helps stroke patients regain control over their arm and hand function by using their minds.

The IpsiHand Upper Extremity Rehabilitation System from start-up Neurosolutions leverages a brain-computer interface (BCI) technology developed at WUSTL and includes a wearable robotic exoskeleton that fits over a patient’s hand and wrist. The BCI technology allows patients to mentally control the IpsiHand exoskeleton, which assists with opening and closing their hands.

Overall, the technology improves upper extremity motor function, giving patients more purposeful and effective movement of their affected hands, wrists and arms. The IpsiHand device can be used in the home or the clinic, helping patients with critical abilities such as feeding themselves, grasping objects and other everyday tasks.

The technology has received “Breakthrough Device” designation from the FDA. It is not yet available to patients, but Neurosolutions is currently preparing to bring the technology to market.

“Generally, any motor impairments experienced by a patient six months after a stroke have been considered permanent,” says WUSTL professor and Neurosolutions co-founder Eric Leuthardt, who also led the development of the BCI technology. “What we’ve found with this device is that many patients can get a meaningful improvement in recovery of upper extremity movement when we wouldn’t expect them to get any. That’s not really true for any of the current therapies for stroke aimed at restoring function after the initial recovery period.”

Daniel Moran, professor at WUSTL and co-founder of Neurosolutions, says the start-up’s success can be attributed to its multidisciplinary team of university scientists.

“It began as a research collaboration between researchers in the departments of neurosurgery and biomedical engineering, and then added more WashU expertise when researchers in the department of neurology and the programs in physical therapy and occupational therapy joined the team. The ability to easily collaborate within the WashU clinical and scientific community is what makes startups like Neurolutions thrive.”

Source: Mirage

Posted under: Tech Transfer e-News

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