Neural Sleeve walking aid for MS now available at 3 Colorado centers

Garment was cleared by FDA for use in 2022

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by Mary Chapman |

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Note: This story was updated March 22, 2024, to note Neural Sleeve is now licensed to ship to 47 states.  

Cionic has added three neurological medical centers to its national Centers of Excellence program as part of its continuing effort to expand the availability of its Neural Sleeve to people with mobility issues due to multiple sclerosis (MS) and other neurological conditions.

The program provides centers with access to the wearable neuromodulation device and trains them how to use it on patients with a mobility impairment.

The newest members are the first in Colorado and include UCHealth University of Colorado Hospital in Aurora, the region’s only academic hospital, and Englewood-based Craig Hospital, which specializes in neurorehabilitation. Also joining the network is NeuroPT in Denver, a physical therapy practice for people with neurological conditions.

“We are excited to collaborate with UCHealth University of Colorado Hospital, Craig Hospital, and Neuro Physical Therapy to deliver a connected experience that allows patients to experience the best of both worlds, combining continuous support throughout their lives with the Cionic Neural Sleeve, alongside hands-on care in the clinical environment,” Jeremiah Robison, Cionic founder and CEO, said in a company press release. “As the father of a daughter with mobility impairment, I know how valuable it is when care is coordinated between her physicians, physical therapists, and everyday life experiences. The Cionic Neural Sleeve facilitates this high level of coordination by combining the diagnostic power of a gait lab with individualized therapeutic stimulation into an everyday wearable that can be used in clinical settings, at home, and on the go.”

Patients who want to try the neural sleeve at one of the Centers of Excellence in Colorado should send an email to [email protected].

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How the Neural Sleeve improves walking in MS

The Neural Sleeve was cleared by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2022, becoming the first algorithm-powered bionic clothing for mobility impairment to win federal clearance.

The flexible, lightweight leg-worn device is available in several sizes and colors and has multiple sensors that allow it to evaluate, predict, and improve a person’s movement. Using algorithms, the device can read the signals sent from the brain to the muscles and can then electrically stimulates muscles to makes real-time adjustments with each step to produce a more natural walking gait.

The stimulation can mitigate walking difficulties caused by muscle weakness or foot drop, a condition wherein the foot’s front doesn’t lift when taking a step, which increases susceptibility to falls, particularly on stairs or uneven surfaces.

Studies that evaluated the sleeve’s at-home usability found patients’ ability to lift their toes markedly improved. Moreover, participants saw reduced turning in of their feet during swing. Both are key measurements associated with foot drop.

Cionic, which developed Neural Sleeve, has a production plant in northern California, and is licensed to ship to 47 U.S. states; the most recent state, Florida, was added in February. More than 400 clinics or healthcare institutions are prescribing the garment.

The neurotech company also announced then that it had raised an additional $12 million extension in Series A financing, which it would use to increase the sleeve’s adoption among patients and expand it into new indications.

In its most recent announcement, Cionic said it will continue working at the Chicago-based Shirley Ryan AbilityLab, its inaugural location while it expands its Centers of Excellence network.

Joining Cionic’s scientific advisory board is Enrique Alvarez, MD, PhD, an associate professor of neuroimmunology at the University of Colorado School of Medicine who specializes in MS care.

“As a neuroimmunologist at the forefront of multiple sclerosis care, I have spent my career studying different treatments for patients to find ways to improve outcomes at every phase of the multiple sclerosis journey,” Alvarez said. “I look forward to partnering with Cionic as they use their technology to help patients with neurological impairments to live fuller lives.”