Neuromuscular electrical stimulation course using NeophyteA neurobiological electrical stimulator — a device Neubie calls it — combined with physical therapy (PT) led to improvements in strength and range of motion in seven people with multiple sclerosis (MS), according to a case series.
Neubie and PT have also been shown to help relieve spasticity, which is characterized by muscle spasms, or sudden, involuntary muscle tightening, in these patients, all of whom have progressive MS.
The findings are detailed in a new study entitled “A case series in individuals with multiple sclerosis using direct current electrical stimulation to prevent spasticity and improve functional outcomes“, published in Journal of Multiple Sclerosis – Experimental, Translational, and Clinical.
“We’ve heard many anecdotes from our certified practitioners who have used (the Neubie device) with their patients with remarkable success,” Ramona von Leyden, director of research at NeuFit, said in an article. Company press release.
“It is exciting to see these results, published by one of our research partners, which conclusively show the effectiveness of DC electrical stimulation with Neubie to improve quality of life for patients with neurological conditions such as MS,” von Leyden said.
Neubie is authorized by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), but is not specifically indicated for the treatment of MS.
In MS, chronic neurodegeneration disrupts the function of nerve cells, including those that communicate with muscles. This can lead to symptoms such as muscle weakness, wasting, cramping, or stiffness.
Such manifestations of MS can cause significant movement challenges that interfere with a person’s ability to perform activities of daily living, and also increase the risk of falls.
the Niobe system It is designed to identify areas of the body where neuromuscular communication is disrupted while patients are physically active. He then delivers direct electrical stimulation to the skin in that area.
This stimulation essentially re-educates or reboots the neuromuscular system and restores more normal functioning. The overall goal of device therapy is to promote plasticity, or the healthy process by which the brain rewires itself in response to new input.
Newby is FDA-cleared for neuromuscular rehabilitation, as well as to increase range of motion, promote circulation, prevent atrophy, and help manage pain. However, use of the device is not indicated specifically for MS.
At a three-day physical therapy boot camp hosted by NeuFit in 2021 — the results of which were previously reported — the device led to measurable gains in function and strength for six MS patients.
Now, Courtney Ellerbusch, a physical therapist with Centura Home Health, Colorado, is leading the new effort to continue testing the Neubie device on MS patients with mobility impairments.
Ellerbusch says she is inspired by her patients’ motivation to improve their motor function.
“I (completed) this project for individuals who face the daily reality of MS that has changed everything in their lives,” Ellerbusch said.
Her study included seven participants with progressive MS whose advanced disease required them to use a walking aid or wheelchair to perform most of their activities. These individuals completed six weeks of physical therapy provided by home health, for a total of 18 visits.
During that period, they also underwent a four-part electrical stimulation intervention using the Neubie device. The intervention aimed to address specific aspects of each patient’s condition, such as symptoms of nerve damage, known as neuropathy, spasticity, weakness, and functional movements.
With Neubie and PT, two patients can now stand without cramping
Overall, the Neubie seemed easy to use and well tolerated. Only one person missed one visit during the program, and this was due to a urinary tract infection unrelated to Niobi treatment.
“Tolerance to electrical stimulation combined with intense, functionally driven exercise is remarkable,” Ellerbusch said.
Trends toward improved strength and reduced spasticity in different muscle groups were observed in the seven patients. For two patients, this meant they were able to stand for the first time in more than three years without the usual cramping.
Improvements in range of motion and gait have also been noted in some patients.
I was also struck by how much the psychological component affects career outcomes, and those with a positive outlook tend to celebrate their accomplishments and look for more opportunities to move successfully.
For some participants, improved walking and reduced spasticity meant they were able to perform standing training in physical therapy when they had not been able to do so previously – an outcome that Ellerbusch says “stands out as noteworthy.”
“I am also amazed at how much the psychological component affects job outcomes, and those with a positive outlook tend to celebrate their accomplishments and look for more opportunities to move on successfully,” Ellerbusch said.
While the results fully reinforce the feasibility of the Newby regimen for MS patients, the researchers noted that “this is a small pilot study case series, so drawing conclusions requires a great deal of humility and caution.”
“The results of the case series suggest that further research is warranted,” the researchers wrote in the publication.
Neophyte was not involved in conducting the study or writing the publication, but provided funding for certain aspects of the research.