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News: New Parkinson's Disease Therapy gets NIH Funding

Posted Oct 17 2011 3:08pm

The Exercycle Company Awarded NIH SBIR Grant to Enhance Theracycle Exercise Bicycle for New Parkinson’s Disease Therapy Using Forced Exercise

 

SBIR Lightbulb LogoBOSTON, MASS — OCTOBER 17, 2011 — The Exercycle Company, maker of the motorized exercise bicycle  Theracycle ®, is proud to announce that it has been awarded an SBIR grant from a division of the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) to accelerate research and development efforts for use of the Theracycle in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease.

With this grant, the NIH recognized Massachusetts-based RSS Industries, Inc., which operates as The Exercycle Company, as a small business that is “working on important engineering and technical problems that stand to generate significant health benefits to a segment of US citizens.” The award was made by NIH department National Institute of Neurological Diseases and Stroke (NINDS). The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I grant was entitled “Forced Exercise: A New Therapy for the Treatment of Parkinson’s Disease (PD).’’

“We are delighted to have the backing and confidence of the NIH for the continued development and testing of the Theracycle’s ability to further meet the exercise/therapy needs of those with Parkinson’s disease,” said Peter Blumenthal, CEO of The Exercycle Company. “For years, Theracycle users afflicted with Parkinson’s disease have reported improvements in their balance, gait, stamina and overall quality of life,” Blumenthal said. “Modifications to the existing model will further benefit users of the Theracycle with PD by allowing measurement and oversight by medical personnel.”

Specifically, the company’s existing Theracycle model will be modified in order to replicate and replace the use of a tandem bicycle used in a successful pilot  “Forced Exercise”  (FE) study for patients with PD conducted at the Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio by Dr. Jay Alberts. This study found that test patients who followed a cycle-driven FE regimen showed up to a 35% improvement in their Parkinson’s disease symptoms, compared with a control group that used a regular stationary exercise bike and demonstrated virtually no improvements.

Forced Exercise is a new treatment for Parkinson’s disease developed by Dr. Alberts. In the original FE clinical trial, patients pedaled on a tandem exercise bicycle with a second rider at speeds and duration that they were unable to achieve by themselves. Using the motorized Theracycle, the need for a tandem exercise bicycle and additional rider will be eliminated. The modified Theracycle to be developed under the SBIR grant will create an enhanced version of the current model and add refinements that will better allow measurements by medical staff.

The announcement of Exercycle’s award is especially newsworthy as future funding of the SBIR program is currently under debate in the US Congress, which has led to a grass-roots movement to  “Save SBIR,” and while applications for SBIR grants are at an all-time high— funding rates are at the lowest level in 10 years. In this environment, Exercycle’s success is impressive, and its planned research “innovative,” and “substantial,” according to scientific reviewers who evaluated and approved the SBIR grant. Some comments from those reviewers:

  • “The device…could have great impact on the treatment of movement  disorders.”
  • “The potential use of forced exercise as a therapeutic tool is exciting.”
  • “Could bring relief to a considerable segment of the  Parkinson’s population at low cost.”

About Theracycle

Theracycle has incorporated 70 years of technical know-how and experience based on the original Exercycle to develop another revolutionary exercise bicycle—one designed specifically for the unique needs of patients with movement disorders such as Parkinson’s disease. People who lack the strength and endurance to use traditional exercise equipment would be able to use Theracycle for  Parkinson’s disease symptoms  and receive exercise benefits such as reduced rigidity, fewer tremors, reduced bradykinesia, improved flexibility, balance, and gait. Theracycle is also one of the most advanced and effective pieces of  physical therapy equipment  ever developed for people with movement disorders. To learn more about the benefits of  Parkinson’s disease exercise  with Theracycle, visit http://www.theracycle.com.

Press contact:   Patrick Rafter, pr@exercycle.com 617-901-2697

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