FDA Approves First 'Exoskeleton' to Help Paralyzed Walk

Designed for people who have lower body paralysis

FRIDAY, June 27, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- An "exoskeleton" motorized device that uses leg braces, motion sensors, motorized joints, a computer, and a wireless remote control to help paralyzed people stand, sit, and walk has been approved for home use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

ReWalk is already used in rehabilitation centers and was developed by the paralyzed founder of Argo Medical Technologies in Israel, the FDA said in a statement released Thursday. In addition to the device, patients use crutches that provide additional stability. Using the remote control device, which is strapped to the wrist, the patient can send the command to sit, stand, or walk.

ReWalk is only designed for people who have lower body paralysis, and patients need the assistance of a trained caregiver to use the device, the agency said.

"Innovative devices such as ReWalk go a long way towards helping individuals with spinal cord injuries gain some mobility," Christy Foreman, director of the Office of Device Evaluation at the FDA's Center for Devices and Radiological Health, said in a statement. "Along with physical therapy, training, and assistance from a caregiver, these individuals may be able to use these devices to walk again in their homes and in their communities."

Health Highlights: June 27, 2014
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