Mount Sinai Launches Rehabilitation Bionics Program

Patients with disabling conditions are testing technology that has the potential to increase function and encourage recovery.

New York
 – March 15, 2013 /Press Release/  –– 

Individuals who are paralyzed are walking again with the assistance of a battery-powered exoskeleton at The Mount Sinai Medical Center's newly-opened Rehabilitation Bionics Program.  Patients with disabling conditions are testing technology that has the potential to improve function, promote health, and encourage recovery.

The exoskeleton, or Ekso™ makes cutting edge technology available to patients at Mount Sinai.  Strapped over the user's clothing, the Ekso is a battery-powered wearable robot that enables people with lower-extremity paralysis or weakness to stand and walk. Currently, ten patients are enrolled in the clinical study testing the device and Mount Sinai is the only rehabilitation program in Manhattan offering it.

"The future of rehabilitation medicine lies with cutting-edge technologies such as the exoskeleton therapy we are currently using and other robotic therapies now in development," said Kristjan Ragnarsson, MD, Professor and Chair of the Department of Rehabilitation Medicine. "I am extremely optimistic that we are working towards the day when we can reassure patients that their desires to walk again or to use their upper extremeties again, are a possibility."

Researchers and physical therapists in the Rehabilitation Bionics Program are collaborating with industry, academic, and clinical partners to conduct rigorous clinical research and ultimately bring technologies to patients.

"We are in the middle of a technological revolution in the field of rehabilitation medicine and as one of the best rehab programs in the country, Mount Sinai is uniquely situated to offer the benefits of both research and clinical therapies to patients with disabilities ," said Dr. Ragnarsson.

U.S. News and World Report ranks Mount Sinai Rehabilitation Medicine among the "Best Hospitals" (12th) in this specialty. Mount Sinai Rehabilitation Medicine is the only program in New York City accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) for spinal-cord injury and post-amputation care. Services also are available for individuals with brain injuries and a variety of neurological, musculoskeletal, and various chronic conditions.

About The Mount Sinai Medical Center

The Mount Sinai Medical Center encompasses both The Mount Sinai Hospital and Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. Established in 1968, the Icahn School of Medicine is one of the leading medical schools in the United States, and is noted for innovation in education, biomedical research, clinical care delivery, and local and global community service. It has more than 3,400 faculty in 32 departments and 14 research institutes, and ranks among the top 20 medical schools both in National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding and by U.S. News & World Report.

The Mount Sinai Hospital, founded in 1852, is a 1,171-bed tertiary- and quaternary-care teaching facility and one of the nation's oldest, largest and most-respected voluntary hospitals. In 2012, U.S. News & World Report ranked The Mount Sinai Hospital 14th on its elite Honor Roll of the nation's top hospitals based on reputation, safety, and other patient-care factors.  Mount Sinai is one of 12 integrated academic medical centers whose medical school ranks among the top 20 in NIH funding and by  U.S. News & World Report and whose hospital is on the U.S. News & World Report Honor Roll.  Nearly 60,000 people were treated at Mount Sinai as inpatients last year, and approximately 560,000 outpatient visits took place. 

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