In the most recent AARP Magazine (December 2011), there was a "puff piece" about Meredith Vieira and her husband who has MS. He walks with an "electronic bracelike contraption that stimulates a nerve in his calf to help him walk without tripping." I never heard of this: does anyone know about it? How much does it cost? Would it be useful for KDers?
I found your post interesting and did some research. I think that what they might be referring to is a Bioness device http://www.bioness.com/Home.php or a WalkAide device http://www.walkaide.com/en-US/Pages/default.aspx. The Bioness L300Plus looks very interesting but it looks like the user would have to be able to stand and have good balance. I also read on one of the discussions that you can try it out for a few months but at a cost of $500 per month (ouch!). I've requested more information from them and will try and find out if appropriate for KD users and will post back.
My post registered as Gerry Montie, but this is his wife, Maria. I'll fix that.
Thanks for the references. It appears that the cost is around $6500 for Bioness, and about $4500 for the WalkAide. Some might be available on Ebay. Maybe this would be a good research topic that could be funded by KDA (haha).
Hi Allan. I know I'm a little late to the party but if it helps at all (I work in a PT clinic), I'd like to break down some of the options/misconceptions surrounding this.
When you stimulate a weakened or denervated muscle with enough electricity, as we know, it causes a strong contraction. The Bioness and related products are great for recovering partial spinal cord injury people in that it helps them increase activation of tibialis anterior (prevents dropfoot) and other important muscle groups. Anyway, I'm not knocking it, but these devices tend to foster dependence.
Can only speculate. Hope it worked out.
Kennedy's Disease Association
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