Bioness Story on Today Show

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Bioness Story on Today Show

Postby patientx » Tue Jan 27, 2009 8:18 am

I went into work a little late this morning, and I caught a story on the Today show about a woman having good results using the Bioness device (I think that's how it''s spelled). I thought this was something new, and then I checked the medical devices forum here, and, sure enough, you guys were writing about these devices long ago.

You can watch the story here:

http://today.msnbc.msn.com/
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Postby mrhodes40 » Tue Jan 27, 2009 10:11 am

What a lovely story I look forward to the day it is a covered medical device instead of something people have to raise funds for.

My personal rant is that the standard of care, the "articulated AFO", a device I was prescribed and which cost my insurance company 1,000 dollars, is unbelievably archaic technlogy. It feels like someone put a ski boot on you and said now go forth and walk.

I can't believe this newer appproach is not available to everyone, especially when people DO say that they get stronger once the device has been used for them. AFO's only make you weaker. :evil: I find it really frustrating and I wish I knew how to make a difference there. One prevented fall may prevent a broken arm (been there, done that, this very year) which costs thousands and thousands (mine did cause it was very very bad).
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Postby CureOrBust » Tue Jan 27, 2009 5:00 pm

The story is amazing, and I can see how the device would unobtrusively be a wonder cure for foot drop.

However, there is one thing I really do no understand from the video. The Dr explained how the device turns on ONLY while there is NO pressure on the sensor in the heel (about 5:35 into the video). But in the video example of the difference it has made to her walking (about 2:18 into the video), her leg is shaky with the device off while there is pressure on her heel, but when she turns it on, her leg is no longer shaky when there is pressure on her heel? From my understanding of the Dr's explanation, the device would not be on at this point anyway, so it should make no physical difference (if the device is on or off). It appears very contradictory to me, and I would love to hear the Dr's explanation on it.

I must say, when I saw her walking up stairs without it, then jogging with it, buy, it looked great.
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Postby mrhodes40 » Tue Jan 27, 2009 5:37 pm

I too was surprised by the seeming global effects of the thing as well such as when she was wallking up the stairs she barely could bend her knees and pick the foot up, but when she had it on on diamond head (the hike in Hawaii) she picked her leg up very well to walk UP hill which impressed me greatly.

personally I kind of wonder if the irritation of the device causes some other side effects like reduction of spasms (from overwhelming of the gateways-totally speculative of course I have nothing to base that on at all) and being able to pick up the leg as well. For me, a sudden pain in my foot causes a very predictable "marching" motion of my leg, it looked to me like she was possibly harnessing that in addition to the foot drop issue.

I'd love to try it! BTW my rehab doc prefers the bioness to the walk aide. Not sure why, but this sure looks good!
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Postby patientx » Tue Jan 27, 2009 7:30 pm

Cure,

I think in the earlier part off the video, they are trying to show what a dramatic difference this device makes. So they have the thing completely switched off (it would be like she didn't even have the device). When she is walking almost normally is when they have the thing turned on.

Later in the video, when the doctor is explaining how the device works, my understanding is this: the device sends an electrical impulse as the heel lifts off the ground, so that the foot starts to lift up. When the heel hits the ground, no impulse is sent, so the foot goes about naturally. The Dr's definition of "off" is different from actually throwing an on-off switch on the device. If I understand things correctly, this device acts as a substitute for the central nervous system in controlling the motion of the foot.

You know, I work as an electrical engineer, and when I see stories like this, I wonder what I've been wasting my time on.

What I find really interesting is that the woman says in her interview that she doesn't always need the device now. So is her nervous system re-training itself?

By the way, a quick google search turned up this:
http://www.reuters.com/article/pressRel ... BW20081211


It looks like medicare will start covering the cost of this device, though it isn't clear if they will do so for MS. I wonder if private insurance carriers will follow suit.
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Postby homer » Tue Jan 27, 2009 7:34 pm

The story today was terrific. I do not use the Bioness System though, I use a WalkAide. Each system works differently for each person. So, both systems may work for some people, or one system would work more effectively than the other system for some people. I suggest if anyone is considering either one to price shop, do research and "test-drive" them. Be aggressive for what works well for you. You are the one that will be using and wearing it.

Since, I started using my WalkAide and not wearing the ever-dreaded AFO, my daily leg spasms decreased along with some of the daily pain I experienced from the AFO. It is quite liberating to be able to walk barefoot and not have to wear an AFO anymore. My ankle/leg has also seemed to have "re-learned" some of its lost function.

I, too, would love insurance companies to WAKE UP and BUCK UP for these systems so people can get what they absolutely need.
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Postby CureOrBust » Tue Jan 27, 2009 10:47 pm

patientx wrote:I think in the earlier part off the video, they are trying to show what a dramatic difference this device makes. So they have the thing completely switched off (it would be like she didn't even have the device). When she is walking almost normally is when they have the thing turned on.
That's so close to my point, when standing on a leg, the device should be doing nothing due to the pressure on her heel (ie it wont be stimulating, ie it will be effectively "off"). The device only "works" (ie stimulates) when there is no pressure on the heel of the foot. If there is no pressure, the device is not stimulating anything, and may as well be OFF, but her legs appear MUCH more stable.

patientx wrote:The Dr's definition of "off" is different from actually throwing an on-off switch on the device.
I see the definition of "OFF" being different, in that as soon as pressure is removed from the heel it will be back on, stimulating. From my understanding while there is no pressure on the heel, I think it is irrelevant if the device is on, off, has flat batteries or is sitting in the corner.

patientx wrote:If I understand things correctly, this device acts as a substitute for the central nervous system in controlling the motion of the foot.
That is my understanding as well, but the video of when it is working, to me, clearly shows some stabilizing effect on her whole leg? not simply her foot. Escpecially when her heel is down, and the device is not stimulating anything.

mrhodes40, I *think* the video of her walking up the stairs is from the past, and so she has probably improved since then. Again, its just my guess, as it looks like the film crew converted an old home video instead of taking new footage themselves.
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Postby patientx » Wed Jan 28, 2009 6:10 am

Cure,

I think I see your point now - her legs seemed pretty stable even during those periods that the device wasn't doing anything.

I'm not sure of the answer.
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Postby CureOrBust » Wed Jan 28, 2009 3:50 pm

Yeah, I don't get it either. :? :? :?

The only explanations I can get is either, she gets more confidence knowing the device is on, and will handle her foot when required OR she is experiencing a placebo type effect, where she unknowingly handles the rest of her motions better OR there is something else going on that wasn't explained in the clip. Whatever way, woo-hoo to her. 8)

It does increase my drive to take out my own unused TENS machine and make a quick visit to the local Tandy for some wires and a pressure switch... 8O
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Bioness L300 - IT HAS GIVEN ME A PIECE OF MY LIKE BACK

Postby FROG » Wed Jan 28, 2009 6:13 pm

Hello to everyone that has been posting thoughts on the Today Show segment with myself (Jonna), my husband and Dr. O'Dell. It has been great reading your thoughts. I see that there are a number of questions on how the device work.

The Bioness L300 is not something that is a magic solution to fixing the foot drop and other stability issues. I had to work close with my physical therapist to get were I am at today. It took time to rebuild the muscle. It is like it has retrained my muscle, nervs. and maybe even my brain. Sure I don't have to wear the device when walking short distances. There are times that I still depend on the device. It not only helped with the foot drop problems but also with my gate and stability problems.

I could go on and on about this but I would really like to try and answer any specific questions. So if there is anything that you would like to ask me I will make sure and check in on this site.
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Postby chrishasms » Wed Jan 28, 2009 7:42 pm

I have tried both systems and I like the Walkaide much more simply because it is all one piece. Plus the heal sensor is really uncomfy in your shoe.

My Walkaide is one piece so I don't need to worry about a piece of it being misplaced. I met someone at an MS conference in Dallas who used to use the Bioness device but lost some of it and essentially flushed a chunk of money down the drain. I actually lost the knob on my Walkaide and it was easily replaced and cheap!

Just from the fact us MS people have brain issues, -AKA forgetting stuff- I like my Walkaide because it's all one piece and I never need to worry about misplacing it.
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Postby FROG » Thu Jan 29, 2009 9:06 am

CureOrBust wrote:
patientx wrote:I think in the earlier part off the video, they are trying to show what a dramatic difference this device makes. So they have the thing completely switched off (it would be like she didn't even have the device). When she is walking almost normally is when they have the thing turned on.
That's so close to my point, when standing on a leg, the device should be doing nothing due to the pressure on her heel (ie it wont be stimulating, ie it will be effectively "off"). The device only "works" (ie stimulates) when there is no pressure on the heel of the foot. If there is no pressure, the device is not stimulating anything, and may as well be OFF, but her legs appear MUCH more stable.

patientx wrote:The Dr's definition of "off" is different from actually throwing an on-off switch on the device.
I see the definition of "OFF" being different, in that as soon as pressure is removed from the heel it will be back on, stimulating. From my understanding while there is no pressure on the heel, I think it is irrelevant if the device is on, off, has flat batteries or is sitting in the corner.

patientx wrote:If I understand things correctly, this device acts as a substitute for the central nervous system in controlling the motion of the foot.
That is my understanding as well, but the video of when it is working, to me, clearly shows some stabilizing effect on her whole leg? not simply her foot. Escpecially when her heel is down, and the device is not stimulating anything.

mrhodes40, I *think* the video of her walking up the stairs is from the past, and so she has probably improved since then. Again, its just my guess, as it looks like the film crew converted an old home video instead of taking new footage themselves.


Let me try to help you all understand it a little more. The first video of me walking up the stairs was in 2004, years prior to getting the Ness L300. When it comes to the stability of my leg with and with out the device on.......the device stimulates the muscles in my lower leg when it is on. It is like when my right leg gets off balance my heal is going to be touching the heal sensor from time to time to activate the device to stimulate the muscles to get me stable. The device is not only to tell my toes to lift so I can continue with the step without dragging my toe, stumbling or having to hike my hip so that my foot/toes could clear the ground, as I have explained it activates the muscles to also get me more stable. The device has made a huge difference in my gate/stability and in general how I walk. It is so nice not to feel the need to tell other that no I have not been drinking, I have MS.

Bioness has a web site that you can go on and it will give you more information. That web site is www.bioness.com
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Postby CureOrBust » Thu Jan 29, 2009 4:29 pm

FROG wrote:the device stimulates the muscles in my lower leg when it is on. It is like when my right leg gets off balance my heal is going to be touching the heal sensor from time to time to activate the device to stimulate the muscles to get me stable. The device is not only to tell my toes to lift
Ahhhh... Thanks, that makes a lot of sense to me. I have a TENS machine, so understand how when it is stimulating, it does not target one muscle specifically. Its interesting that the stimulation sturdies your stance, without the toe lifting effect being overly detrimental to it. Thanks again.

One of the things I miss is being able to run (not that I enjoyed it in itself). I note that you can run with it on. How bad (if at all) is your running with it off?

I remember when I began losing my ability to run, it was using a treadmill, and my biggest problem at the start was that I could not keep in a straight line (balance i guess), which wasn't good on a treadmill.

I have seen the videos etc on both this device and the one chris mentions above, and in both, i found it interesting that they always only show the device being used on a single leg. Do you, or anyone else, know why? cost? or something medical?
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Postby patientx » Thu Jan 29, 2009 5:08 pm

Thanks for the explanation. That makes a lot of sense.

Cure:

What is a TENS machine?
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Postby mrhodes40 » Thu Jan 29, 2009 5:12 pm

Hi Jonna, :D
how'd you find us so quickly and know we were needing input? I am impressed! thanks so much for coming! My rehab doc said I should get one preferably bioness; my neuro who sells walk aide said no dice you don't bend your knee well enough, it'll never work.

It's expensive and out of pocket so I have not pursued it thinking it'd be a waste, BUT I saw you walking up the stairs and the difficulty you had bending to get up and I do at least that well bending wise, so....
Did your ability to bend your legs get a little better too after the device? It looks like it...
Thanks Jonna for helping us all!
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