A medical theory aimed at balance rather than repetition is behind an effective recovery method for stroke victims.
KIINCE—shorthand for Kinetic Immersive Interfaces for Neuromuscular Coordination Enhancement—is a Madison-based corporation that has emerged from the research of Kreg Gruben, associate professor of the University of Wisconsin–Madison department of kinesiology.
“He [Gruben] had a theory that balance is the key to walking for post-stroke patients,” says Patrick Walters, CEO and co-founder of KIINCE. “Insurance companies are starting to decline coverage because they see that current physical therapy with repetition is not really working that well.”
KIINCE has developed three prototype devices—resembling treadmills—that help retrain the brain to help patients find muscle coordination that can control their center of gravity. Using the biofeedback from the force of the patient’s steps on the device, they are able to retrain the brain’s ability to activate the correct muscles.
Gruben has written numerous articles on the subject and has worked with the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation’s Discovery to Product partnership to gain traction. Walters’ background is in product marketing and there are plans to commercialize the device within the next 18 months.
Walters says the device has already proven that it can have an effect on recovering stroke victims and he and Gruben are testing its impact for patients over longer periods of time.
Currently in the second year of testing the devices in its UW-Madison laboratory, the company is also applying for grants to help prepare for commercialization.
Although not required, KIINCE will also apply for Food and Drug Administration approval. In time, Walters says, the devices will be available to hospitals and clinics.