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Researchers Are Working to Keep MS Patients Upright

August 31, 2016

Veronica Daniels-Lewis was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis 20 years ago and has never taken it lying down.

"It's a challenge I'm willing to take, and I'm wanting to help others take that challenge to live their best lives," Daniels-Lewis said.

So with a grant from the Multiple Sclerosis Society, she's assisting with research at TIRR Memorial Hermann. "I feel like I'm walking normal again, just step by step," she said.

This trial, studying two robotic exoskeletons, is so far ahead of itself that it has only been seen before in movies.

Dr. James Chang, research investigator at TIRR Memorial Hermann says, “We're able to put the patient in the device, the device will help them to stand up. The patient is able to use the robotics and the motors to help them walk again."

In the infancy stages, researchers are hoping to one day get people in wheelchairs, and those who use walkers, up and walking. "She will use this for balance and then help shift her weight, which is what triggers the stepping of the device," said Marcie Kern, research therapist, TIRR.

There is a great chance that this could increase overall health for people with disabilities. "The participants in our study have reported things that we would never even have expected, and that really makes this question more what really is the potential of this device?" Dr. Gerard E. Francisco, chief medical officer at TIRR Memorial Hermann.

Patients like Veronica prove she can step up to the potential of whatever the device has to offer. "I have improved balance and strength training, and I think it has a lot to do with retraining of the mind, that is now making me concentrate more on doing it correctly," Daniels-Lewis said.

Tirr Memorial Hermann is still looking for people to be a part of this clinical trial, so Houston residents who are interested should click here.