Concept: Massachusetts medical robotics provider Myomo has developed MyoPro wearable to offer enhanced functionality to patients with neurological disorders and upper-limb paralysis. It has recently announced that Thomas Jefferson University has conducted the first phase of clinical trials leveraging sensors embedded in the brain to control a MyoPro-boosted brace worn by a stroke patient.

Nature of Disruption: MyoPro can help people with cerebrovascular accident (CVA) strokes, brachial plexus injuries, traumatic brain or spinal cord injuries, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), and other neuromuscular diseases. It supports people to stabilize and regain mobility to their damaged or paralyzed arms. MyoPro detects a patient’s own electromyography (EMG) signals by non-invasive sensors installed on the arm. The company asserts that it can regain a person’s capacity to do everyday functions such as feeding themselves, lifting items, and doing domestic chores. Myomo claims that above 1,000 patients, most of them being stroke survivors, have received a MyoPro and restored mobility in their paralyzed arms leveraging its non-invasive sensors on their arms’ skin surfaces. It enabled them to get back to work, live independently, and minimize their cost of care.

Outlook: At least one person in the US has a stroke every 40 seconds which can result in death every four minutes. Also, stroke has been reasoned as the primary reason for disability from a medical condition. The study undertaken at Thomas Jefferson University has developed a proof-of-concept, paving the way for further studies, by leveraging fully implanted wireless electrodes to enhance mobility following a stroke. It predicts that in the future, MyoPro can be managed simply by the patient ‘thinking’ to raise his arm or hand without the need for any external sensors. This can serve patients with deficient signals in their affected limbs by wearing MyoPro over normal fashion garments, thereby bringing patients closer to complete independence.

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