Source: Centre for Neuro Skills
A revolutionary system that helps people with neurologic injuries to practice walking and improve balance has been introduced at Centre for Neuro Skills (CNS). The ZeroG® Gait and Balance System combines body weight support mechanics with a robust user interface that records data and patient progress in real-time. CNS is the first postacute facility west of the Rockies to use this advanced technology.
“ZeroG® provides functional, real-world ambulation, yet prevents the patient from running, falling or being injured,” said CNS founder and CEO Dr. Mark J. Ashley, Sc.D., CBIST. “This is a remarkable asset for CNS, as the interface is customizable for traumatic brain injury, stroke, and spinal cord injuries and for a broad array of users, from pediatric to elderly patients.”
Its innovative design allows patients with severe to minimal gait impairments to practice ambulation and balance. The patient walks in a secure harness, assisted by a therapist. A 75-foot long ceiling-mounted track and trolley system can be adjusted for support, independent movement, and walking speed.
Each patient’s experience is recorded by the system’s computer, which captures data in real-time. Results can be shared with case managers, physicians, family members and insurers. Outcomes on ambulation distance, speed, balance, and disruptions (would-be falls) help all those involved with the patient to measure progress.
Operation is controlled through a touch screen computer or wirelessly, via iPod and iPad. ZeroG® is designed for the real-life demands of climbing stairs, standing, navigating terrain, sitting and getting off the floor. The system’s body weight support component allows for partial compensation of weakness, spasticity, and abnormal coordination. Such refinements enable patients to practice at high-intensity levels soon after neurologic injuries – factors shown to be related to enhanced outcomes (DeJong et al., 2005; Horn et al., 2005).
To help guide therapists with training ideas, the Activity Library (a large repository of videos) shows patients performing various activities in ZeroG®. Therapists can use the library as a reference for selecting movements appropriate for the patient. Videos can also be played for the patient prior to trying an activity, allowing the therapist to review the goals they want to achieve. Presently, the system is available at CNS’ flagship Bakersfield, California, clinical facility. It is the company goal to place ZeroG® in the Dallas, Los Angeles, and San Francisco locations as well.