Researchers from the Kessler Foundation and the Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation (together, “Kessler”) are enrolling participants in a national trial of an innovative device to improve recovery after stroke. The Kessler sites in West Orange and Saddle Brook, N.J., are among 20 sites across the United States participating in the EMAGINE Stroke Recovery Trial, which combines therapeutic exercises with brain stimulation through a wearable device for investigation. Stephen Kirchblum, MD, is the principal investigator and Geith Andrews, PhD, is a co-principal investigator on the Kessler study.
Each year, stroke affects nearly 800,000 people in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Given the broad impact that stroke has on individuals, families, and caregivers, as well as health care services and our economy, the benefits of improving stroke rehabilitation outcomes are significant,” noted Kessler Chief Medical Officer Stephen Kirchbloom. Kessler Institute and Rehabilitation Institute. Dr. Kirchblum also serves as Chair of the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Rutgers New Jersey School of Medicine.
“Stroke often results in long-term disability that negatively affects quality of life,” Dr. Kirschblom continued. “We now know that through early and intensive intervention, stroke survivors have the potential to regain function. The EMAGINE trial benefits the neuroplasticity of the brain and spinal cord by augmenting standard rehabilitation using electromagnetic stimulation and making treatment available in various settings, including at home. “.
Each site plans to enroll individuals within four to 21 days of a moderate-to-severe stroke. At Kessler, three participants have so far been enrolled in the study, which is randomized, picture-controlled, double-blind, according to Dr. From the Center’s Robotics Rehabilitation and Research Laboratory.
The first participant completed a nine-week protocol, which included 45 one-hour sessions five times a week. During each session, the participant performs therapeutic exercises while wearing the device, which fits over their head and torso without interrupting the participant’s ability to perform functional tasks with their upper limbs.
“Given the promising results of the already completed BrainQ trial in people with chronic spinal cord injuries, we are excited to study the potential benefits of this non-invasive brain and spine stimulation intervention in people disabled by stroke,” said Dr. Andrews.
Using machine learning, the BQ device targets affected areas of the brain with electromagnetic field therapy. The treatment, low intensity and frequency, is administered in conjunction with the current standard of physical and occupational therapy, towards the goal of facilitating neurological recovery. Initial results have been promising, prompting the FDA to award the BrainQ Device Innovative Designation Award in 2021.
BrainQ’s developers see the device’s potential for a flexible continuum of treatment, from acute care to rehabilitation and after discharge for home use. “The ability to continue treatment throughout the recovery process is a unique aspect of the EMAGINE study,”
Dr. Andrews confirmed. “Participants can access this investigational therapy from home, under the supervision of a trained caregiver and remote monitoring by a member of the study team.”
We are pleased that true leaders in rehabilitation research and clinical care, including the Kessler Foundation and the Kessler Institute, are our partners in the EMAGINE trial. Together, we strive towards our common goal – to transform the future of post-stroke rehabilitation by restoring lost mobility through innovative technology applied to home solutions. “
Yotam Drechsler, CEO, BrainQ
Eligible participants are recruited from the Kessler Rehabilitation Institute, an inpatient medical rehabilitation hospital that provides rehabilitative care for stroke and other disabilities. Inpatients undergoing stroke rehabilitation are assessed for eligibility by the Kessler study team.
The study was funded by BrainQ, the developer of the research device.