Neurokinex chosen as the first international NeuroRecovery Community Fitness and Wellness Affiliate of the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation
This brings breakthrough neurological rehabilitation treatments to the UK and Europe
The Reeve Foundation NRN is a cooperative network of cutting-edge rehabilitation sites designed to develop and deliver therapies that promote functional recovery to improve the health and quality of life for people living with paralysis. With the addition of Neurokinex, the NRN has expanded to include 12 sites.
The NRN was originally conceived by Christopher Reeve who believed the way forward for rehabilitation from spinal cord injury was to provide activity-based therapies that promote functional recovery. By combining technological advancements with scientific knowledge, the NRN is able to broaden its understanding of neuroplasticity – the brain’s ability to form new neural connections to compensate for injury.
Until now, people living with spinal cord injury and neurological impairments wishing to access therapies offered by the NRN had to travel to the US. Now that Neurokinex is approved to deliver the ground-breaking protocols, people in the UK and Europe have access to this cutting-edge technology and equipment much closer to home.
The two NRN protocols now being delivered by Neurokinex are Locomotor Training and Wide-Pulse NeuroMuscular Electrical Stimulation (WPS).
Locomotor Training emerged from recent advances in the understanding that the spinal cord can interpret sensory information below the level of injury and relay signals to generate a motor response. Locomotor Training works to awaken dormant nerve pathways by repetitively stimulating the muscles and nerves in the lower body and thus retrain the spinal cord to ‘remember’ the pattern of walking.
In Locomotor Training, individuals living with paralysis repeatedly practice standing and stepping using body weight support on a treadmill (BWST). The participant is suspended in a harness over the treadmill while specially trained therapists and technicians move his or her legs to simulate walking at a normal pace. At the same time, sensory information from the legs and trunk is repetitively sent to the spinal cord. The sensory input comes from the actual stepping, from the manual contact of the therapist on the participants and from the contact of the sole of the foot on the ground. In this way, the nervous system relearns motor patterns associated with walking.
The Wide-pulse NeuroMuscular Electrical Stimulation (WPS) approach was developed by the NRN. Its unique protocol targets many muscles at the same time during a useful movement, using parameters that activate the spinal cord. This, combined with the precise administering of the electrical stimulus to move the muscle or paralysed limb, excites the central nervous system in such a way it can promote neuroplasticity.
WPS is administered as part of active therapy, when the client is completing a movement under their own control. The electrodes are applied to the relevant area being worked and the electrical stimulus is administered while the individual performs an exercise. In this way, the signals start to develop new or strengthen existing pathways in the spinal cord circuitry. The programme is set and tracked on the Restorative Technologies Xcite machine which comprises a touchscreen that enables manipulation of therapy parameters to give pinpoint accuracy of settings while charting the progress of each individual.
“I feel privileged and honoured for Neurokinex Gatwick to be the first international NRN Community Fitness & Wellness Affiliate,” says Harvey Sihota, CEO and founder of Neurokinex. “I first became aware of their work following my own life-changing injury and I vowed to develop facilities here in the UK to offer activity-based rehabilitation. Being able to deliver the Locomotor Training and NMES protocols gives our clients remarkable opportunities to be more functional and independent. Our location close to Gatwick airport brings these protocols within reach of people in the UK and across Europe who are living with spinal cord injuries and seeking potentially life-changing improvements.”
As well as delivering these unique activity-based interventions, Neurokinex will work closely with the NRN to measure outcomes and share relevant data to continue its ongoing research into advancing treatment and results for people with spinal cord injury.
“We applaud the innovative, activity-based exercise programmes offered by Neurokinex and we are particularly excited because our affiliation means NRN protocols are now more readily available in the UK and Europe,” says Peter Wilderotter, President and CEO of the Reeve Foundation. “Most importantly, our partnership enables us to deliver cutting-edge interventions that improve the health, well-being and independence of so many individuals living with paralysis.”