How can you do 1,000 reps an hour?

Again and again, we learn the secret to stroke recovery is repetition. It's about doing the same movement or behavior again and again -- tens of thousands of times.

In a typical session with an OT or PT, a patient might do the same exercise 30-60 times, which is a good start. But what if a therapist could crank that up to 1,000 reps an hour, or one every four seconds? Now you've got some interesting possibilities for recovery.

Bionik, Inc makes devices and software that do just that. This week I talk with CEO Rich Russo about the InMotion Hand and InMotion Arm devices and how they work in conjunction with a therapist to help patients recover.

Listen to the conversation here or in your favorite podcast app. If you don't see the media player below, visit http://strokecast.com/Bionik


Who is Rich Russo?

From the Bionik website:

Rich Russo wears a dark suit, shirt and ties. He;'s outside and looking at the camera

Mr. Russo Jr. has over 15 years of finance and accounting leadership experience and is a Certified Public Accountant.

From March 2017 through November 2020, Mr. Russo was the Vice President of Finance and United States Chief Financial Officer, of IcarbonX, a privately held digital health management company specialized in artificial intelligence and health data, and a predecessor PatientsLikeMe. While there, he was responsible for, among other things, the merger of three companies, fundraising, and the ultimate dissolution of certain affiliated companies.

From 2007-2016, Mr. Russo held various key leadership roles for Nasdaq-listed companies in life sciences, pharmaceutical and medical device industries. From September 2015 to October 2016, he served as Corporate Controller for Pieris Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a clinical stage biotechnology company, and prior to that, he had roles at Juniper Pharmaceuticals, a woman’s health company focused on developing therapeutics, and Cynosure, a medical device company focused on aesthetic treatment systems. In each of these roles, Mr. Russo was responsible for all finance activities and SEC reporting, including partnering closely with management to ensure effective and efficient financial procedures throughout the organizations. Mr. Russo started his career in 2005, where he served as an auditor at Pricewaterhouse Coopers in the assurance group.

Mr. Russo is a graduate of Bridgewater State University in Bridgewater, MA, where he graduated from a dual degree program, receiving his Bachelor of Science in Accounting and his Masters in Management and Accounting.

Other Inpatient Solutions

A patient uses the InMotion Hand

The Bionik system is one for hospitals and rehab units. The rapid reps help in partnership with the rehab professional.

In that respect, it's similar to devices from Restorative Therapies. I talked with the team at Restorative Therapies in episode 92. You can find that episode here. 

The key difference is that Restorative Therapies uses Functional Electric Stimulation (or FES) to activate a patients muscles. The Bionik solutions provide physical assistance to help the patient complete motions. They are different ways to stimulate the brain, increase repetitions, and drive the neuroplasticity that is so key to recovery.

They are also both intended for use in a hospital or rehab facility with the help of a trained therapist.

The other devices I talk about often, like those from sponsor Motus Nova and previous guests with Neofect and Racoon Recovery are for at home use, as a supplement to therapy provided at a medical facility, or as an alternative when those services are not available, for whatever reason. You can learn more about those devices by clicking the links on their names above or from the link table at the bottom of this post.

The point of all these solutions is the same -- drive patient recovery through increased movement and repetitions to neureoplastically teach to brain how to access that limb once again.

Hack of the Week

Wear comfy socks.

It's such a simple thing, but the right socks can make a big difference in how you feel. The right socks can wrap your feet well and wick away perspiration. They can protect your foot from rubbing against an AFO or the heel of your shoe.

The wrong socks will keep you too hot or too cold. The wrong size will leave you with an uncomfortable wrinkle you walk on all day. If they're too slippery, you've got an additional safety hazard to contend with.

The hospital socks they gave me in the hospital were terrible. The had the no slip dots, which was great, but they kept falling down and rotating around my foot. Part if it was they were likely the cheapest that met minimum standards. The other part is that I have large feet for my height (size 12). So my partner ordered me better hospital socks from Amazon,* which helped.

For air travel after stroke, I have made a change to my wardrobe. I now wear knee-high compression socks.* They do a good job of preventing swelling in my feet and legs during long flights. And that helps to prevent DVT or deep vein thrombosis, which is where a clot forms in the legs and causes problems there, or breaks loose and lodges elsewhere in the body. That's how Ted Baxter had his stroke. I talked with Ted back in Episode 34.

Relatively speaking, good socks are still fairly cheap. Try different ones until you find the socks that are best for your feet and life style.

Good socks are worth it.


Where do we go from here?

Here is the latest episode of The Strokecast

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