Kessler and BrainQ partner on a national trial of breakthrough device to improve recovery after stroke

Researchers at the Kessler Foundation and the Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation (collectively “Kessler”) are participating in a national trial of a breakthrough device to improve recovery after a stroke. Kessler’s locations in West Orange and Saddlebrook, N.J., are among 20 sites across the U.S. participating in the EMAGINE Stroke Recovery Trial, which combines therapeutic exercise with brain stimulation via an investigational device. Steven Kirschblum, MD, is the principal investigator and Geith Andrews, PhD is the co-primary investigator of the Kessler study.

Each year, strokes affect about 800,000 people in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Given the extensive impact that stroke has on individuals, families, and caregivers, as well as on health care services and our economy,” noted Steven Kirschblum, MD, Kessler’s chief medical officer. The benefits of improving rehabilitation outcomes are substantial.” Foundation and the Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation. Dr. Kris Blum also serves as Chair of the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School.

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“Strokes often result in long-term disability that adversely affects quality of life,” continued Dr. Kirschblum. “We now know that with early and intensive intervention, stroke survivors have the ability to regain function. The EMGINE trial would benefit this neuroplasticity of the brain and spinal cord by augmenting standard rehabilitation with electromagnetic stimulation. and make treatment available in a variety of settings. The home,” he explained.

Each site plans to enroll individuals within four to 21 days of a moderate to severe ischemic stroke. At Kessler, three participants have been enrolled to date in the study, which is randomized, sham-controlled and double-blind, according to Dr. Andrews, senior research scientist and director of the Center for Mobility and Rehabilitation Engineering Research at the Kessler Foundation. Center for Rehabilitation Robotics and Research Laboratory.

The first participant completed a nine-week protocol, consisting of 45 one-hour sessions five times a week. During each session, the participant performs therapeutic exercises while wearing the device, which fits over their head and torso without interfering with the participant’s ability to perform functional tasks with their upper limbs.

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“Given the promising results of our already completed BrainQ trial in people with chronic spinal cord injury, we are excited to study the potential benefits of this non-invasive brain and spinal cord stimulation intervention,” said Dr. Andrews. Passionate about those who are disabled by paralysis.”

Using machine learning, the BQ device targets affected areas of the brain with electromagnetic field therapy. This therapy, which is tailored at low intensity and frequency, along with current standards of physical and occupational therapy, is directed toward the goal of facilitating neurorecovery. Early results were promising, prompting the FDA to grant the BrainQ device Breakthrough Device designation in 2021.

BrainQ’s developers see the device’s potential for a flexible continuum of treatment from intensive care through rehabilitation and post-discharge for use at home. “Being able to stay engaged in therapy throughout the recovery process is a unique aspect of the EMAGINE study,”

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Dr. Andrews emphasized. “Participants can access this investigational therapy from home, with supervision by a trained caregiver and remote monitoring by a member of the study team.”

We are pleased to have true leaders in rehabilitation research and clinical care, including the Kessler Foundation and the Kessler Institute, as our partners in the EMAGINE trial. Together, we are striving towards our common goal – to change the future of stroke rehabilitation by restoring lost mobility through innovative technology applied to home solutions.”


Yotam Drechsler, CEO of BrainQ

Eligible participants are recruited from the Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation, a select medical inpatient rehabilitation hospital that provides rehabilitation care for stroke and other disabling conditions. Eligibility of patients undergoing stroke rehabilitation is assessed by the Kessler Study Team.

The study was funded by BrainQ, the developer of the research instrument.

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