Multiple Sclerosis Patients Find Improvement in Walking with BalanceWear

Second phase of NIH research grant study on Balance-Based Torso-Weighting (BBTW) in MS to begin

The first phase of the NIH study, Movement Ability Changes with Balance-Based Torso-Weighting (BBTW) in Multiple Sclerosis (MS), provided important results for Multiple Sclerosis patients suffering with balance and walking challenges. The study is funded by a National Institutes of Health Recovery Grant that was awarded to Samuel Merritt University (SMU) Physical Therapy Professor Dr. Gail Widener, PT, and Dr. Diane Allen at San Francisco State University to continue research into BBTW and its effects on MS mobility challenges. The first phase of the study validates previous research funded by the National MS Society.

“The first phase of the NIH study supplements other research into BBTW, the technology behind BalanceWear, which has been highly successful in improving mobility for patients with MS,” says Steve Cookston, CEO of Motion Therapeutics, the company that manufactures BalanceWear. “I have joined Cindy in numerous treatment sessions and I am always inspired when I witness the immediate improvement in someone who has spent years struggling to manage daily activities due to poor balance. It’s a wonderful experience”.Physical Therapist, Cynthia Gibson-Horn, discovered that strategic application of small amounts of weight could counter-balance directional losses and dramatically improve stability in patients with MS, Parkinson’s disease, stroke, TBI ataxia and other Sensory Based Motor Disorders (SBMD) during clinical applications. This discovery led to the development of the patented BBTW method, which has now helped hundreds of patients. The NIH funded research provides documented evidence of the efficacy of her clinical observations.

Gibson-Horn acknowledges that each case is different regarding the degree of improvement that can be achieved after being strategically fitted with BalanceWear. “Some patients walk nearly normally with BalanceWear,” she says. “We can see immediately upon application if a patient’s balance has been corrected. Further, we now know that the improved stability provided by BalanceWear is helpful in increasing confidence, which can lead to improved success in physical therapy often accelerating results.”

Balance-Based Torso-Weighting is an assessment and treatment method that results in a BalanceWear custom made, strategically weighted orthotic. BalanceWear is made to the exact specifications for the patient’s counter-balancing requirements, providing supplementary sensory information to the nervous system, and helping to improve balance and stability in all directions of movement. Clinically, patients with the following conditions have found balance and mobility improvement with BalanceWear - Parkinson’s disease, Multiple Sclerosis, stroke, head trauma, brain surgery, osteoporosis, ataxia, Cerebral Palsy and dizziness.

Dr. Gail Widener at Samuel Merritt University in Oakland, California and Dr. Diane Allen at San Francisco State University will present their research at the 64 Annual Academy of Neurology April 26th and at the Consortium Of MS Centers annual conference on June 1, 2012.

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