A research scientist at Kessler Foundation observes as a participant walks on a C-Mill. (Photo courtesy of Kessler Foundation)

A research scientist at Kessler Foundation observes as a participant walks on a C-Mill. (Photo courtesy of Kessler Foundation)

Using a virtual reality-based device called the C-Mill, designed by Motek, investigators at Kessler Foundation are exploring interventions to help improve cognitive and motor deficits in individuals with multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injury, and stroke.

The C-Mill is a treadmill that trains the user to avoid obstacles and influences his or her gait pattern by projecting virtual cues on a safe walking surface.

“The flexibility of the C-Mill allows researchers to program for specific environments, enabling better training and evaluation of gait pattern and gait adaptability,” says Guang Yue, PhD, director of Human Performance and Engineering Research at Kessler Foundation, in a media release.

“New technologies such as C-Mill enable researchers to develop universal standards for measuring and improving mobility. This exciting collaboration advances our mission to improve mobility, independence and quality of life for individuals with disabilities caused by a range of neurological conditions.”

Investigators will use advanced brain imaging technology at the Rocco Ortenzio Neuroimaging Center at Kessler Foundation to examine the neurofunctional changes underlying cognitive and motor improvements in individuals in studies testing the C-Mill. The findings of these studies may help reduce loss of independence and improve daily functioning in people with disabilities by providing critical biomarkers for post-intervention changes in learning and memory, fatigue, gait and balance, the release explains.

“Motek gives clinicians and researchers the tools they need to provide dynamic, high-quality technology solutions that can be customized to meet the patient’s needs,” states Frans Steenbrink, PhD, head of clinical applications & research at Motek, in the release.

“With this strategic partnership, Motek and Kessler Foundation aim to facilitate both the integration of our technology in clinical settings and the accommodation of different patient populations. Together, we will create a strong scientific network that will push evidence-based clinical research into the underlying mechanisms of impaired gait and balance control. Furthermore, we hope to extend this strategic partnership with Kessler Foundation to the entire DIH Group, laying the groundwork for numerous future innovations,” Steenbrink adds.

[Source(s): Kessler Foundation, EurekAlert]