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Bioness helping with recoveries

Valencia-based company is lifting people to their feet

Posted: January 21, 2009 9:44 p.m.
Updated: January 22, 2009 4:55 a.m.

A model patient wears the NESS L300 Foot Drop System, a neurostimulating device that assists foot drop sufferers in lifting their foot to help them walk. Valencia-based company, Bioness Inc., manufactured the device that is now offered in almost 400 rehabilitation facilities nation-wide.

Bioness Inc., a Valencia-based company, is lifting patients throughout the country who suffer with an inhibiting condition known as foot drop.

Officials introduced the NESS L300 Foot Drop System in 2006, but the company has recently experienced an influx of interest in the technologically-advanced nerve-stimulating device that targets the foot.

"We're just now catching more and more patients. That's why it's becoming more and more noticeable," said Bioness Senior Vice President of Operations Mark Chamberlain.

The company, which employs more than 100 workers in Valencia, provides technology to help people recover from neurological disorders, according to the Bioness' Web site.

"It's the whole reason why we exist as a company," Chamberlain said. "That's what helps motivate my team in Valencia, is the knowledge that we're changing people's lives. This is the thing that is very rewarding."

Joanne Roth of Reseda, 53, suffered from multiple sclerosis since she was 25, and about five years ago, she started experiencing foot drop, a condition where sufferers have trouble lifting the front part of the foot, according to information Bioness provided.

"Oh, it hindered me a lot," she said. "I was a very active person."

Roth eventually used a leg brace that assisted her walking but made her leg stiff. That was until she received information about Bioness' NESS L300 Foot Drop System device.

"I got a pamphlet in the mail, but I don't know who sent it to me. It must have been somebody that obviously knew I had (multiple sclerosis)," Roth said. "I looked at it and I started to do some investigation. I have been using (the NESS L300) since Dec. 16."

The NESS L300 is a non-invasive nerve stimulator that applies targeted low-level electric stimulation to the nerve that controls lifting the foot, according to Bioness information.

Roth said she is still getting used to the device, but she's seen a change.

"I've noticed in just the short time, I have better circulation in my left foot," Roth said. "It used to be a lot cooler than my right foot. The Ness helps my foot to move to wake up, which will lead to more progression in my condition. I'm amazed at how much it's done in such a little time, how much better my leg and foot feels."

Roth's physical therapist Tami Toms at Advanced Recovery Rehab Center in Sherman Oaks said the NESS L300 gave Roth new hope.

"By the fifth visit, she started using a cane, so she will move away from her three-wheeled walker soon," Toms said. Roth has also shed the plastic leg brace, Toms said.

Roth awaits the day when she can take walks on the beach again.

Chamberlain said the NESS L300 has helped thousands of patients since 2006. Almost 400 rehabilitation facilities offer the device in the United States, according to Bioness information.

Bioness jointly created the device with an Israeli company, Chamberlain said. Late in 2008, Bioness purchased the partner company and is now one international company with headquarters in Valencia, he said.


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