Brooks Rehabilitation, an industry leader in post-acute physical rehabilitation, announced today its partnership with Japanese medical and social innovation company, CYBERDYNE, INC., to introduce and make available the world’s first advanced robotic treatment device that has been shown to improve a patient’s ability to walk. Individuals with spinal cord injuries can now access FDA-cleared HAL, which is short for Hybrid Assistive Limb, at the Brooks Cybernic* Treatment Center in Jacksonville, FL. The Treatment Center is currently the only facility in the U.S. offering this innovative treatment.
“We’ve already seen the results of improved mobility and ability to walk in patients with spinal cord injury (SCI) at several international locations that are providing this technology,” said Dr. Geneva Tonuzi, Medical Director of the Brooks Cybernic Treatment Center. “We are thrilled to finally have this unique technology available here at Brooks Rehabilitation as it opens the door to more research and treatment methods in advancing spinal cord injury treatment.”
Recently implemented in Japan, Germany and other countries, HAL fits to the patient’s lower limbs and trunk, and operates using internal signals from the body. This powered lower extremity exoskeleton is unique from any other exoskeleton treatment available today because the device’s movements are neurologically-controlled by the patient’s volition, and use of its secondary Biofeedback Device features allows the patient to see and adjust the signals they are producing. This functional integration of human neural pathways with modern technology is a landmark advancement for SCI patients nationwide.
When a person intends to move his or her body, signals are transmitted from the brain to muscles via nerves. With a spinal cord injury, these signals are disrupted. HAL’s sensors can still detect faint bio-electric signals on the surface of the skin, which reflects the intention to “move.” Using these signals, HAL allows the wearer to perform the desired movements with their voluntary commands. Active use of these neural pathways for voluntary movement with feedback to the brain leads to an improved ability for the wearer to walk on their own.