Thursday, May 2, 2013

Teijin launches WalkAide® device in Japan to help stroke survivors and others with partial paralysis resume walking

Tokyo, Japan, April 25, 2013 --- Teijin Pharma Limited , the core company of the Teijin Group's healthcare business, today announced the Japan launch of WalkAide, an electrical stimulation device that supports walking for those suffering from foot drop due to stroke, multiple sclerosis, incomplete spinal cord injury, or other conditions affecting the central nervous system. Initially, Teijin Pharma will issue WalkAide to medical institutions starting in the Tokyo metropolitan area on a rental basis, where users may access the device for treatment.

WalkAide is manufactured and sold by Innovative Neurotronics Inc., a U.S. medical equipment maker. It is already used by thousands of people in the U.S. and Europe. The device, applied to the leg below the knee, electrically stimulates nerves timed to the user's step cycle to help contract muscles impaired by nerve damage. Other devices use a pressure sensor on the heel to sense the walking cycle, which requires the use of shoes. WalkAide, however, uses a sensor embedded within the device itself, so it also may be used barefoot. Japan's official guidelines for stroke treatment, issued in 2009, recommend this electrical stimulation therapy for patients with chronic stroke-related foot drop.
Japan is home to about three million stroke survivors. An average of 270,000 people suffer strokes each year in the country. More than half will experience some form of damage in the central nervous system of their upper or lower limbs. Such damage may also be caused by multiple sclerosis, incomplete spinal cord injury, traumatic brain injury or cerebral palsy, etc. Walking, one of the most important physical functions of daily life, may be significantly impaired by foot drop due to damage to the central nervous system. 

Traditionally, foot drop has been treated with ankle-foot orthotics, but these bracing devices do not allow natural walking and become a physical burden for the user. The launch of WalkAide by Teijin Pharma, a total healthcare provider active in pharmaceuticals and home healthcare, reflects the company's increasing commitment to patient quality of life. Based on demand going forward, the company expects to expand its WalkAide rental service to include other facilities, such as nursing homes, and home rentals.
Teijin Pharma is working through academic and government channels to ensure that the WalkAide is covered under Japan's public insurance system and is classified as an assistive device under the Services and Supports for Persons with Disabilities Act.

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