Recovery with ZeroG after a Car Crash

Source:  ITV News

GLASGOW, UK – A father-of-four who was left paralyzed after a serious crash is now dreaming of walking his daughters down the aisle after receiving innovative robotic therapy.

Luke Louden suffered a broken neck and back, alongside multiple serious leg injuries, in August 2020, and for more than two years the dairyman was forced to contemplate the end of his life as he knew it.

The 32-year-old, of Whauphill in Dumfries and Galloway, said he “knew instantly” after the crash that he was paralyzed, and added: “The doctors didn’t say there was no chance of walking but they said there was a slim chance.”

But that slim chance has now started to become a reality after he became the first patient to receive a new type of therapy at the Queen Elizabeth National Spinal Injuries Unit in Glasgow.

He said: “Quite quickly I began to feel the benefits, and now there’s less pain, fewer spasms, I sleep better and I have lost weight. It’s also been huge for my mental health.”

It is his wife Anna and his children Anna, eight, Chloe, six, Mary, four, and Isaac, three, who have been his inspiration and support during his recovery.

“They have kept me going – especially my wife,” Mr Louden said. “I don’t know how I would have managed without her. I’ve had some really dark times, but now I can look forward with real hope.

“The dream would obviously be to walk my girls down the aisle, so I’m going to keep going, to keep trying, for Anna and all my children.

“I mean, look what this system has done for me up to now – you never know what further advances are round the corner.

“Don’t get me wrong, it’s been tough and the future is daunting, but the team here have been amazing, and I know they’ve got my back.”

Before Mr Louden started his therapy on the ZeroG Gait and Balance System, which NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde said is the first of its kind in Scotland, he said he “put so much work in and didn’t see any return, and I could feel my hope just draining away”.

He added: “It was really hard at the start, and I didn’t really know what to do. I was really fit and active, so to lose the use of my legs was tough.”

In September last year, he started using the robotic apparatus, which supports him during therapy and automatically synchronizes with his movements to help him walk and prevent falls.

“It’s transformed my life and how I feel,” Mr Louden said. “I’ve gone from hardly being able to move to being able to walk 20 meters non-stop on the bars.

“My record on the ZeroG system is 57 meters.

“I’d love to keep improving but to be honest, if I couldn’t achieve any more I’d be happy the way I am. Just to be able to stand, even if it’s with a frame, is amazing.

“If you’d asked me six weeks ago if I could even achieve that I’d have said don’t be daft. But now I can stand next to my kids.”

Claire Lincoln, senior research physiotherapist at the hospital, said patients using the machine can do a lot more before becoming too tired.

“The system also allows us to be more creative with the activities we undertake, which means the patient gets more enjoyment and satisfaction while also seeing additional benefit,” she said.

“We are still learning the full potential of the system, but because of the support and added safety it gives patients, already it’s allowed us to try therapies earlier than would have been possible before.”

Dr Mariel Purcell, consultant in spinal injuries, said since he started his career 30 years ago more patients now have the potential to get back on their feet.

“We used to see a lot of young males, who had perhaps been in a car crash or suffered an industrial accident, but the advances in safety – seatbelt wearing and health and safety laws – have made a real difference,” he said.

“Now we are seeing damage that isn’t as bad, and we’re seeing older patients who have experienced lower-velocity injuries.

“This gives us a real chance to help these patients, and the ZeroG system will be instrumental in this work.”

For more information on The Queen Elizabeth National Spinal Injuries Unit, please visit:

ZeroG Helping Children take First Steps

Source: ABC 15 Arizona

PHOENIX — The miracle of modern technology is changing lives inside United Cerebral Palsy of Central Arizona off 19th Avenue and Pinnacle Peak Road.

Physical therapist Atalie Holem is prepping 7-year-old Alexandra Anderson to work with their newest robot.

“It allows us to practice balance and walking with the support of a dynamic trolly,” said Holem.

It’s called the ZeroG Gait and Balance System and for Alexandra, it’s giving her the best chance of eventually walking on her own.

“Before she was even diagnosed, we knew there were some delays, she wasn’t meeting those baby milestones checklists that they hand you,” said Alexandra’s mom, Nicole.

Nicole says at 15 months old, her daughter was diagnosed with Pitt Hopkins Syndrome. A single missing gene from her eighteenth chromosome would change Alexandra’s life forever.

“Without that gene, it kind of wreaks havoc on her body. She has extreme difficulty with a lot of neurodevelopment issues,” said Nicole.

She’s nonverbal and faces a vast number of physical limitations. While she’s never taken an independent first step, they hope the robot will get her there. Once hooked into the harness, Alexandra can put her walking muscles to work. The ZeroG, running on an overhead track, is programmed to move with her, providing specified weight support while tracking countless data points.

“It will tell me the average body weight support that it provided, it will tell me how many falls it prevented, it will tell me the distance that the child walked, these are all things that I can then use to document progress,” said Holem.

We saw the progress ourselves after the harness was removed. Following a half-hour session on the ZeroG, Alexandra’s brain and body were now firing on memory.

“Getting to see her make those steps in the gait trainer, the ZeroG, and then when it’s off of her being able to take those assisted steps just holding Atalie’s hand, I mean that is just pure magic,” said Nicole.

The real magic is in the hope this technology can infuse into so many families like this one. It’s the only one of its kind in the southwest.

The $300,000 investment was made possible thanks to donations from the Arizona Diamondbacks Foundation, the Arizona Board of Visitors, and Thunderbird Charities.

A recent study shows children who received robotic gait training in unison with conventional physical therapy had a higher chance of gaining independent mobility than those who received only conventional therapy.

ZeroG Leads to Better Outcomes

Source: PRWeb

New Clinical Research Demonstrates Therapy with ZeroG Leads to Better Patient Outcomes

Aretech, LLC, a world leader in robotic body-weight support systems, announced today that multiple recently published research studies demonstrate that patients who use the ZeroG Gait and Balance System during inpatient rehabilitation achieve significantly higher clinical outcomes when compared to traditional standard of care (SOC) therapy. (1,2,3)

These studies, which were conducted in patients with acute stroke and acute traumatic brain injury, highlight ZeroG’s unique ability to provide dynamic body-weight support, controlled perturbations, and fall protection, which help patients achieve better outcomes.

One peer reviewed study performed at Gaylord Specialty Healthcare (Wallingford, CT), provides the first published evidence for the effectiveness of incorporating overground TRiP perturbations into gait rehabilitation in patients following stroke. TRiP (Training Responses in Postural Rehabilitation) is used to apply controlled perturbations of various strengths and directions to the patient while using the ZeroG robot. The Gaylord study found that patients treated with ZeroG and TRiP achieved significantly higher gains in Berg Balance scores when compared to Standard of Care. These findings suggest physical therapy that includes ZeroG with TRiP may help lower fall risk!

“We were impressed with the degree of balance improvement in the group that used ZeroG with TRiP during their inpatient rehabilitation.” says Pete Grevelding, PT, MSPT, NCS, Vice President of Clinical Operations at Gaylord Specialty Healthcare and Executive Director of the Milne Institute for Healthcare Innovation. “ZeroG with TRiP provides unanticipated perturbations while a patient is walking or practicing postural activities. These balance disruptions allow the patient to develop more effective recovery strategies, without the risk nor interference of manual intervention by the therapist. These relearned strategies potentially help avoid a harmful fall once back in the community. This study is the first to demonstrate that perturbations delivered during overground therapy activities can have a significant effect on improving patient outcomes.”

Joe Hidler, PhD, Aretech CEO, states “TRiP is one of the many ZeroG features that therapists are excited to use with their patients. What the Gaylord study shows is that challenging a patient’s balance control using ZeroG with TRiP may ultimately lower fall risk and improve functional independence.”

Two other studies evaluated the clinical effects of using ZeroG during inpatient rehabilitation following acute traumatic brain injury (TBI) and stroke. Each found that patients using ZeroG achieved significantly higher gains in total Functional Impairment Measure (FIM) scores then patients who receive SOC therapy. Specifically, the patients with acute stroke who used ZeroG during their daily therapy program improved their overall FIM score by 40 points while the SOC group improved by 30.5 points. Patients with acute TBI who used ZeroG during acute rehabilitation improved their overall FIM score by 59.7 points. This was nearly triple the gains in the SOC group, which were 21.1 total FIM.

“We are very excited by the results of these studies,” said Joe Hidler. “We have always believed that ZeroG’s unique ability to help deliver high-intensity physical therapy early after neurological injuries would lead to best outcomes. These studies now support this. And to see patients who use ZeroG with TRiP experience the largest gains in balance scores emphasizes the impact ZeroG can have on patient outcomes that cannot be replicated by other systems.”

1. Anggelis E, et al. “Impact of motor therapy with dynamic body-weight support on Functional Independence Measures in traumatic brain injury:” NeuroRehabilitation. 2019 Dec 18;45(4):519-524
2. Elwert N, Powell ES, Anggelis E, Sawaki L, “Effect of dynamic body-weight support on function independence measure in acute ischemic stroke.” 14th ISPRM World Congress and 53rd AAP Annual Meeting. 2020
3. Meyer et al. “A Novel Body Weight-Supported Postural Perturbation Module for Gait and Balance Rehabilitation After Stroke: Preliminary Evaluation Study” JMIR Rehabil Assist Technol. 2022;9 (1)

About ZeroG TRiP
TRiP (Training Responses in Postural Rehabilitation) is a patent pending software algorithm for the ZeroG Gait and Balance System. TRiP allows therapists to apply controlled and measurable perturbations to patients while ambulating or during stationary activities using the ZeroG robot.

About the ZeroG Gait and Balance System
The ZeroG Gait and Balance System has been used by patients since 2008 and is intended for patients in rehabilitation who need dynamic body-weight support and are at a risk of falling. ZeroG gives therapists the opportunity to safely treat a broad range of patient populations with dynamic body-weight support in functional activities, apply TRiP perturbations while providing fall protection.

About Aretech
Aretech, LLC, headquartered in Ashburn, Virginia, is a world leader in developing advanced rehabilitation technologies for improving function and independence. The company has a strong commitment to quality, innovation, and developing technology based on evidence-based research.

Progress with ZeroG at Marquette Neuro Recovery Clinic

Three years ago, Jewel Currie, a Milwaukee Business owner, suffered a broken neck after falling at home.  His doctors told him he would never walk again.

Shortly after his diagnosis as a complete spinal injury, Jewel started to regain some function, and with it, the hope that he may be able to return to some of his favorite activities. This is where his therapy journey began.

Three years after starting continuous Physical and Occupational Therapy, Jewel began to see his progress slow which put his goals seemingly far out of reach. Seeing his progress plateau had a big impact on Jewel’s outlook and overall mental health. “I was getting down and depressed,” Jewel remembers as he thought he had to accept the reality that he would not get back on the golf course.

As luck would have it, a brand-new clinic was opening at Marquette University that would give Jewel one last shot at getting back on the golf course.

Marquette University is a Catholic, Jesuit University located near the heart of downtown Milwaukee, Wisconsin that offers a comprehensive range of majors in 11 nationally and internationally recognized colleges and schools. Marquette’s Physical Therapy Program is ranked thirteenth nationally

The Neuro Recovery Clinic, located on campus, is the first of its kind in Wisconsin and is equipped with state-of-the art technology and experts in Neuro Rehabilitation.

The gym itself is only 1,100 square feet, which is much smaller than what you may expect when you hear of everything they offer. Kim DeChant, PT, DPT, NCS, and Clinical Coordinator of the Clinic describes the space as “small but mighty” and they have the outcomes to prove it.

Jewel enrolled in the intensive therapy program offered at the clinic based on a referral from his doctor and began immediately seeing results.

Melissa Dygulski, PT, DPT, NCS, recalls Jewel’s first evaluation day, “He walked maybe 15-20 feet tops before having to sit down because he felt his legs were going to give out.”  After a few weeks of training in Aretech’s ZeroG Gait and Balance System, Jewel was able to walk close to 800 feet total in the session, which is much beyond what he had set as his goal for the day.

Now the golf course is back in sight and Jewel has set a goal for himself that he will be back with his buddies this summer. Although for Jewel, “the score doesn’t make a difference.”  He just wants to play.

When asked to reflect on where he was before he entered Marquette’s Intensive Program and where he is today, the progress he has made, and the relationships he has developed with this therapy team, he put it simply:

“It means the world to me.”

See Jewel in Therapy Using ZeroG

For more information on the Marquette Neuro Recovery Clinic, visit:

ZeroG Helping Patients Back on their Feet Faster

Source: Ivanhoe Broadcast News

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (Ivanhoe Newswire) — Almost 800,000 people suffer a stroke each year. More than 250,000 people are living with a spinal cord injury. Almost as many people will be diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury in 2021. What do all of these people have in common? Most of them will end up in rehab to help get their lives back to normal. Now, a new type of robot is helping people get up on their feet and walking again.

See ZeroG Video at University of Utah Health

Twenty-eight-year-old Joshua Naea was a powerhouse on the dance floor. And he kept dancing until a stroke swept him off his feet.

“My left side pretty much felt like it was sinking into the floor. Then I realized I couldn’t move it at all,” shared Naea.

Fast forward six weeks and Naea is walking! The longest ZeroG Gait and Balance System in the country is what got Naea moving. Therapists use this track to help patients who have suffered everything from spinal cord injuries to bone fractures regain mobility and learn to walk again.

Randy Carson, a physical therapist with University of Utah Health, explained, “It’s a robot that stays above you and then has a tethered line that goes down to a harness.”

Patients can re-learn how to stand, move, walk and climb stairs, all without fear of falling.

“It allows safety really for the therapist and the patient,” continued Carson.

“They put like seven straps on me. I feel pretty safe. And then they got me walking and it was awesome,” smiled Naea.

Therapists believe ZeroG helps people recover faster and gets them home several weeks sooner.

“I’ve been working in physical therapy well over 25 years and it’s the best piece of equipment I’ve ever worked with hands down,” stated Carson.

It also gave Naea the boost of confidence he needed.

“I was like, okay. You know what? I can recover!” said Naea.

And get back out bustin’ some moves.

Rehab is changing. State-of-the-art technologies like this one are incorporating physical therapy into activities such as cooking and playing sports. New research shows by improving rehab techniques, outcomes for spinal cord and head injury patients are improving, allowing many to leave the hospital by walking out the door, not in a wheelchair.

ZeroG Maximizes Patient Outcomes at Tampa General Hospital

Source: Tampa General Hospital 

Imagine you’ve had a stroke or been severely injured from a car accident.

Or you’ve developed a neurological condition that paralyzes your whole body. You can’t walk at all. Your life has suddenly turned upside down.

Paralysis affects hundreds of people in the Tampa Bay area each year; people like Steve Connors. Connors was once a paratrooper with the prestigious 82nd Airborne of the U.S. Army, based at Fort Bragg. Throughout his career, he was a medical transporter, a deputy sheriff, and currently a member of the Lakeland Fire Department. He’s always been active and lived a life of service.

But last December, Steve woke up and had tingling in his hands and feet and knew he had to get to the hospital. Even though he lived a reasonable distance away in Lakeland, he told his wife she had to transport him to Tampa General Hospital and bypass the other hospitals along the way. He knew Tampa General could provide the best care.

The sensation first manifested as an inexplicable weakness and then rapidly evolved into a life-threatening situation, eventually paralyzing his entire body. Steve was in extreme pain, unable to walk, eat, speak, and even breathe for himself.

The doctors diagnosed him with Guillain-Barré  Syndrome, a rare neurological disorder in which the body’s immune system attacks nerves. He spent months in the hospital.

But Connors is a fighter. And no stranger to hard work.  He powered through and progressed from being ventilated in the ICU to enduring daily hours of inpatient physical and occupational therapy.

When Steve came to TGH, he was a healthy, fit 202 pounds, but after months of being bed-bound, he lost his muscle mass, and his weight came down to 157 pounds. Then he entered rehabilitation. “It was painful, but I worked out hard every day,” said Connors. “When I first started in rehab, I couldn’t hold a Coke can; I was so weak.”

Thanks to a generous donation by The Hillsborough County Hospital Authority and the TGH Foundation’s Rehab Equipment and Technology Fund, a new, state of the art technology called the “ZeroG Gait and Balance System” by Aretech helped Steve regain his strength and learn to walk again.

The ZeroG protects patients from falls while providing body-weight support as patients practice walking, balance tasks, learn sit-to-stand maneuvers, and even stairs, alongside their physical therapist. Because the ZeroG harness is mounted to a wall track, the patient and the therapist have the reassurance that the patient is safe and cannot fall and injure themselves.

Manuel Garcia-Gaona, a physical therapist, and the primary TGH trainer of the ZeroG,  says it’s 100-percent secure and can hold patients up to 400 pounds. What used to take up to three physical therapists to assist the patient now only takes one.

“When a patient comes to the TGH Rehab Center, they have lost their independence, and they’re very emotional. They were living their lives but now can’t do anything for themselves,” Garcia-Gaona said. “Our goal is to increase their independence. TGH Rehab enables patients to feel secure and keep them going, not to lose hope and build a sense of safety,” he said. “Therapists like it, too, because there’s less chance of back strain.”

Steve remembers sitting and watching other rehab patients, thinking he could never achieve what they did. But then he thought about it more and decided that there will always be someone “worse than me” and said to himself, “no, I CAN do that!”

The ZeroG helped him have the confidence to push the limits.

Steve is currently in outpatient rehab twice a week at Tampa General Hospital and a big advocate of the ZeroG. Through hard work and extensive physical therapy, he has relearned how to eat and walk and is slowly rebuilding his strength to return to doing what he loves, serving as a Lakeland firefighter.

Steve Connors featured in story with fellow Lakeland firefighters


Patients Achieve Higher Functional Outcomes with ZeroG

Source: PRWeb

Two recent studies have demonstrated that patients with acute cerebrovascular accident (CVA) and traumatic brain injury (TBI) who use Aretech’s ZeroG Gait and Balance System during their acute inpatient therapy program achieved higher gains in overall score on the Functional Independence Measure (FIM) as well as sub-categories of the FIM when compared to standard of care (SOC).  Both studies were led by Dr. Lumy Sawaki, MD, PhD, Department of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation at the University of Kentucky.

The first study compared 29 patients with CVA whose acute physical therapy included regular use of the ZeroG Gait and Balance System to 29 patients whose physical therapy did not utilize any form of overground dynamic body-weight support devices (SOC).  The primary outcome measure was change in overall FIM scores from admission to discharge, while secondary outcome measures included motor FIM score and cognitive FIM score.  The group that utilized ZeroG demonstrated statistically higher gains in overall FIM scores (p = 0.01) and Motor FIM scores (p = 0.016) than SOC therapy.  The ZeroG trained group also demonstrated significantly higher gains in Locomotion (p = 0.023) and Sphincter Control (p = 0.012), which are subscales of the Motor FIM score.

The second study followed the same protocol except each group included a cohort of 6 patients with TBI.  The results of this study were even more pronounced.  The average change in overall FIM scores in the group of patients who utilized ZeroG during their acute rehabilitation more than doubled the changes in the SOC group (ZeroG: 59.7, SOC: 21.1; p = 0.007).  In addition, the group that utilized ZeroG demonstrated statistically significant gains in Motor FIM (p = 0.008) and Cognitive FIM (p = 0.021), as well as Self-Care, Mobility, Locomotion, and Social Cognition subscales when compared to SOC.­

Aretech’s CEO and inventor of ZeroG, Dr. Joe Hidler, said these studies confirm the ideology he and his team had when the idea for ZeroG was first conceived back in the early 2000’s.  “When I first started working on ZeroG, I felt that the system could help patients achieve much higher outcomes than standard of care because ZeroG’s dynamic body-weight support would allow them to begin high-intensity physical therapy earlier in their rehabilitation program, and ZeroG’s advanced fall protection takes away the fear of falling and getting injured.”

Dr. Sawaki agrees and says the staff and patients loved using ZeroG.  “We found that patients immediately took to ZeroG and felt comfortable pushing themselves during activities they normally would be afraid to do.  For our staff, they didn’t have to worry about the safety of the patient because ZeroG took care of that.  Instead, they could focus on the quality of the therapy, and have patients practice the types of activities they would do at home and in the community.”

Dr. Hidler added. “ZeroG is so much more than a simple fall-protection system.   The dynamic body-weight support helps compensate for impairments such as weakness and abnormal synergy patterns.  This allows patients to begin their therapy as soon as they are medically stable and as their abilities improve, the therapist can reduce the amount of body-weight support and make the therapy more challenging.  This progressive therapy approach can be done with a single therapist, which helps to reduce healthcare costs.”

About the ZeroG Gait and Balance System

The ZeroG Gait and Balance System has been used by patients since 2008 and is intended for patients in rehabilitation. ZeroG safely allows walking overground, functional activities, balance and fall prevention training in a ‘reduced gravity’ environment.  The system consists of dynamic body-weight support, fall protection, robotic trolley tracking which anticipates and reacts to patient movements, and TRiP for applying perturbations.  The patient has full freedom to practice a wide variety of activities including steps, getting up from a chair, picking up objects, and using assistive devices such as walkers or canes.

About Aretech

Aretech (, headquartered in Ashburn, Virginia, is a world leader in developing advanced rehabilitation technologies for improving function and independence. The company has a strong commitment to quality, innovation, and developing technology based on evidence-based research.


Elwert N, Powell ES, Anggelis E, Sawaki L, “Effect of dynamic body-weight support on function independence measure in acute ischemic stroke.” 14th ISPRM World Congress and 53rd AAP Annual Meeting. 2020.

Anggelis E, Powell ES, Westgate PM, Glueck AC, Sawaki L, “Impact of motor therapy with dynamic body-weight support on Functional Independence Measures in traumatic brain injury: An exploratory study.” NeuroRehabilitation. 2019 Dec 18;45(4):519-524.







No More “Fear of Falling” with the ZeroG Gait and Balance System

Source: Spokesman-Review

After a July 23 rollover accident, Cameron Tweedy received a grim outlook on ever walking again. Along with lower body numbness, he had suffered five fractures in his spine and a crushed ankle.

“They told me I had less than 1% chance of minimal function in my legs,” said Tweedy, 21, a Spokane resident. “I had less than 1% chance of twitching my toes, essentially. I didn’t like that.”  He described surgery to repair his spine with pins, rods and a thin metal bar. With therapy, Tweedy now can walk, mostly using crutches. Since early January, he credits a much faster pace to the help of a new device at St. Luke’s Rehabilitation Institute.

Called the ZeroG Gait and Balance System, the robotic body-weight support equipment helps people learn to walk again without fear of falling. The system simulates a reduced-gravity environment. The ZeroG system is expected to help about 1,000 patients a year who have spinal cord and brain injuries, stroke symptoms, multiple sclerosis diagnosis, Parkinson’s disease and lower extremity amputations, St. Luke’s said in a news release.

The device is attached to a motorized trolley along a U-shaped, ceiling-mounted track in a large therapy room. A rope suspends from the ZeroG that is hooked to a harness worn by the patient. As the ZeroG was installed in late December, Tweedy was transitioning from a walker to crutches and had reached about 400 to 600 steps per session. Within a week or two of using the ZeroG, he said it helped him exceed 1,500 steps in one session.

“It’s really hard to go from not walking, and using a walker where you can put all your weight down, to going to crutches,” he said.  “I struggled more with walking with that fear of falling, especially with not being able to feel all the lower half of my body. It built my confidence back up. When I started using the ZeroG, that’s when my progression started getting better because the fear of falling went away.”

The robotic device has a sensor as it tracks movements from above, and information is linked to a nearby computer. Therapists also can use a smartphone for monitoring, and software collects data that tracks a patient’s progress and a session’s results. Parameters are set so that the device catches a person before they fall but can allow for some range of motion such as climbing steps. As a patient’s therapy progresses, a wider range can be practiced, such as going from standing to a seated position.


Neurophysical therapist Sarah Gross and Jake Allstot, assistant manager of rehabilitation at St. Luke’s, helped Tweedy go through a recent session. Gross said Tweedy uses the ZeroG once a week in addition to swimming for outpatient therapy.

Allstot said the ZeroG is designed to eliminate the fear of falls because it prevents those from happening, but patients can still feel any loss of balance and the body adjustments needed to compensate if they sense a fall.

“Since we started using it in January, we’ve worked with 32 patients and prevented 250 falls,” Allstot said. “It allows freedom of movement, and it does that with safety at the forefront.  “This device allows a patient to really feel his own loss of balance, feel his own weight and do his own performance, but not by compromising safety.”  That takes a caregiver’s focus away from watching for falls and instead on providing better therapy treatments, Allstot said. “You can program a fall distance. You can set perhaps 4 inches of fall, or you can set it to where it’s a velocity where it will detect if a patient drops really fast,” he said. “It will stop and correct that fall.”

In earlier therapy sessions, Tweedy had used another piece of equipment at St. Luke’s, the Lokomat, that’s a robotic exoskeleton treadmill. The Lokomat helped him to walk up to nearly 400 steps per session this past fall.

For the recent session, Allstot put the ZeroG’s body harness on Tweedy. The harness attaches to a bar and a rope hovering above a patient’s shoulders. The harness also is secured around the waist, with straps down the thighs and attached around the leg above the knees. During the recent session, Tweedy practiced walking with the use of both crutches. Later, he practiced going over a step, and then walking with one crutch to prepare for eventual use of a cane.

“The way I have it set now is if he drops at certain speed, as soon as he hits that speed, it will catch him,” Allstot said. “The reason we could go over that step is he didn’t exceed a certain velocity.”  “The sensor detects how much rope is coming out and how fast. He can go all the way to the ground, and the machine will adapt for that need or for him to sit. It also counts total steps. We can change to a small movement, so if you have a small buckle, it will trigger a response to protect the patient.”

Allstot also demonstrated how the device can help patients practice adjusting their weight and balance in response to someone bumping into them. Tweedy had to shift his balance and at one point put a foot out to catch himself.   “You can do a response to simulate a forced pull on him,” Allstot said. “He has to stay balanced. It’s practical if someone in the community bumps into him, and that can happen. He’s practiced for that.”

St. Luke’s also described the ZeroG, which costs $260,000 for equipment and installation, as the only device of its kind in the Inland Northwest. Providence Health Care Foundation provided funds for the system, with major contributors including the Craig H. Neilsen Foundation and the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust.


Learning to Walk again at Methodist Outpatient Rehab

Source: Meridianstar

Accustomed to running around on the softball field, Northeast Lauderdale alumna Alixus Hearn decided she wasn’t going to be sitting down for the rest of her life.

On Oct. 2, 2017, Hearn was involved in a car wreck that ejected her from her vehicle and left her paralyzed from the waist down due to her fourth and fifth thoracic vertebra being bruised and twisted. Initially, doctors told her she may never walk again, but Hearn opted for a vigorous rehab program at Methodist Rehabilitation Center in Jackson.

“Sitting down for a long period of time, I just wasn’t with that,” Hearn explained. “Having my mom and dad with me, they kept the positive energy around me. I just put everything in and went head first. I wasn’t sitting down until I got better.”

It began with baby steps last November, followed by using a walker to help her. Eventually, she ditched the walker for a cane, which she used from February until May. Now, Hearn no longer uses the cane to walk.

“It feels amazing,” Hearn said. “I can’t really explain it. It’s just been amazing. I don’t have to depend on anything to help me walk.”

Methodist offered Hearn rehab technology like the ZeroG Gait and Balance System, a device connected to an overhead track that harnessed Hearn upright, allowing her to do a wide range of motion activities while preventing her from falling. Originally, she went to therapy three times a week, but now her sessions have been reduced to once a week.

Having access to high-tech rehab equipment made a big difference in Hearn learning to walk again, and she said she’s grateful to live in a time where such technology is at her disposal.

“I don’t think Meridian gets that many spinal injury patients,” Hearn said. “They probably wouldn’t know what to do. I tried every piece of equipment (Methodist) had, and it helped a lot. I’m grateful for that.”

Emotional support proved just as important as physical support, and that began with Hearn’s parents, Allison Hearn and Demitrius Robinson.

“They did every single thing they could to keep me motivated and pumped,” Hearn said. “Both of them were my motivators. They did a good job with keeping my spirits up.”

That emotional support extended to her Lady Trojan teammates, who adopted the slogan “13 strong” in honor of Hearn, who wore No. 13 for Northeast Lauderdale.

“That meant everything to me,” Hearn said. “It showed me how much they cared and loved me.”

Being a softball player also helped in her rehab from a physical standpoint.

“Even my therapist said that since I played sports, I had a lot of muscle, and that was good,” Hearn explained. “In my sessions, there were some spots where I was stronger just because I played softball and had all that extra weight.”

Now a student at Meridian Community College, Hearn plans to transfer to Mississippi State and earn a degree in athletic training. Having grown up playing sports, Hearn said she would love to continue being around athletics as a trainer.

“At first, I just played for fun so I wouldn’t get bored, but as I gradually got into it, I just fell in love with the game even more, being out there and doing what I do best,” Hearn said.


Community Hospital in Munster offers ZeroG

Source: Times Staff

Amy Peters and Julie Gaski are taking steps to heal and recover after illness left them unable to walk by themselves. With the help of new technology at Community Hospital in Munster, they have new motivation and hope.

The ZeroG Gait and Balance System, the first of its kind in Northwest Indiana, is a robotic, body-weight support system. Patients wear a specialized harness that connects to the ZeroG robot as it supports and tracks their movements from above. ZeroG helps the patient practice walking, complete balance exercises and work on position changes such as sitting to standing. The “reduced gravity” environment is a feature to support balance while preventing falls.

“ZeroG gives our patients the safety and confidence to practice functional, real-world balance and walking activities,” said Amy Castillo, director of therapy services at Community Hospital. “We believe the use of ZeroG technology will help our patients accelerate and maximize recovery.”

Peters, of Munster and a Times employee, experienced difficulty walking as the result of a tumor that was pressing on her spinal cord. After chemotherapy, she initially was only able to walk with the assistance of a walker. Once her physical therapist added the ZeroG sessions three times a week, she was able to stand on her own.

“Using a walker is just not the same,” Peters said. “The ZeroG has restored my confidence in walking.”

Gaski, a resident of Crown Point, agrees. For two years following a stroke that rendered her left hand and foot immobile, she couldn’t walk and had an overwhelming fear of falling.

“The ZeroG gives your body a different feeling of ‘I can do this,’” Gaski said. “It’s amazing to stand on my own again after two years. It’s a wonderful thing.”

ZeroG can support up to 450 pounds and a variety of diagnoses, including stroke, traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, amputation, cerebral palsy and other orthopedic and neurological conditions. The therapist secures the individual into a comfortable harness, attaches it to the ZeroG robot and therapy can begin. The amount of support is customized for each person depending upon the level of their ability and can be increased or decreased with the touch of a remote button.

Support can be set to offload the person’s weight by up to 200 pounds, making them feel lighter in a “reduced gravity” environment. This allows them to undergo therapy at higher intensity levels sooner after injury or illness. As the individual progresses, the support can be decreased so the person does more under their own capabilities.

“For patients’ recovering from a stroke, like Julie, who cannot feel or have impaired awareness of where their foot and leg are when standing or walking, their perception and safety of daily mobility may be altered or compromised,” said Jacob Virgo, a clinical specialist in the hospital’s physical therapy department.

“The ZeroG allows for more intensive and task-specific training that may not be feasible outside of the support system. It gives therapists and patients the confidence and means to push the limits of what is possible, and allows the patient to progress to that next level of independence and safety.”