BETHESDA, Md., Sept. 17 The National MultipleSclerosis Society (NMSS) announced Innovative Neurotronics, a subsidiary ofHanger Orthopedic Group, earned the esteemed da Vinci Award(R) for AdaptiveTechnologies for its product, the WalkAide(R) System. In the spirit of the15th century artist and visionary Leonardo da Vinci, the da Vinci Awards,founded by the NMSS, honor outstanding engineering achievements in adaptiveand assistive technology that provide solutions to accessibility issues forpeople with disabilities.
"The significance of this prestigious honor is magnified because it'sbestowed upon us by a national organization that represents many of ourpatients, people living with multiple sclerosis," President of InnovativeNeurotronics Jeff Martin said. "Validation of the efficacy and importance ofthe WalkAide by our patients and their advocates motivates and inspires us tocontinue on our mission of restoring functionality to those with neuromuscularimpairment."
According to the NMSS, the recognition drives the marketplace to stimulateinvestment in and development of further creative advances, ultimatelyenabling everyone to participate and contribute in all aspects of society.
"Having struggled with MS walking-related limitations for 17 years, I wasthrilled to read about WalkAide," said Ann Serafin, a member of the da VinciAwards Committee and the National MS Society Advocacy Committee. "Toparaphrase a famous quotation -- one small step for a woman, one giant leapfor persons with MS."
Presented by General Motors, and chaired by Chet Huber, President ofOnStar Corporation, the 2007 da Vinci Awards presentation ceremony will beheld at The Ritz-Carlton Hotel, Dearborn, MI, on Friday, September 28, 2007.Funds raised through these awards support the NMSS in their continuing effortsto aid those affected by multiple sclerosis.
Launched in May 2006, the WalkAide System employs functional electricalstimulation to treat a form of paralysis known as "foot drop" due to multiplesclerosis, stroke, spinal cord injury, traumatic brain injury, and cerebralpalsy. By using a patented sensor technology called an accelerometer andtransmitting data through a Bluetooth connection, the WalkAide sends low levelelectrical signals directly to a motor nerve in the leg, stimulating themuscles to raise the patient's foot at the appropriate time in the gait cycle.The AA battery-operated device does not require surgery, external wires, orshoes.
A study published in the September 2006 issue of the peer-reviewed journalNeurorehabilitation and Neural Repair suggests the WalkAide can reveal hiddenpotential for additional patient recovery and mobility. The walking speed ofpatients wearing the WalkAide increased by 15% after three months. Withcontinued usage, patients' walking speed increased by 32% after six months andby nearly 50% after twelve months. The study also showed the number of stepstaken per day by WalkAide users increased significantly over the year.
About Hanger: Hanger Orthopedic Group, Inc., headquartered in Bethesda,Maryland, is the world's premier provider of orthotic and prosthetic patientcare services. Hanger is the market leader in the United States, owning andoperating 621 patient care centers in 45 states and the District of Columbia,with 3,502 employees including 1,029 practitioners (as of 6/30/07). Hanger isorganized into four units. The two key operating units are patient care whichconsists of nationwide orthotic and prosthetic practice centers anddistribution which consists of distribution centers managing the supply chainof orthotic and prosthetic componentry to Hanger and third party patient carecenters. The third is Linkia which is the first and only provider networkmanagement company for the orthotics and prosthetics industry. The fourthunit, Innovative Neurotronics, introduces emerging neuromuscular technolo