The Neurofenix team is dedicated to improving the lives of neurological injury survivors.
Their flagship product, NeuroBall, is an easy-to-use, upper-limb therapy device designed to enhance recovery at home and in the clinic.
Stroke Rehab Times sat down with CEO Guillem Singla Buxarrais (left with CTO Dimitris Athanasiou) to learn more about how the technology is helping to transform stroke survivors’ lives.
What inspired you to create NeuroBall?
My co-founder and I both have family members who suffered a stroke. We saw the devastating impact the loss of hand and arm mobility had on quality of life and their ability to perform even the simplest of daily activities, like drinking from a glass or buttoning a shirt.
We also saw that the amount of therapy typically available to patients was woefully inadequate to facilitate a meaningful recovery.
How did you develop the product?
Since we are both engineers, we decided to find a way to improve the therapy experience and results for survivors of stroke and other neurological conditions.
With the help of hundreds of patients and clinicians, we developed NeuroBall™, an easy-to-use, affordable, digital therapy device that encourages intensive upper limb training.
NeuroBall is suitable for use in the clinic, but we specially designed the device and its tablet-based activities and games to be used by patients independently, in the comfort and convenience of home.
What movements does NeuroBall train?
The NeuroBall Package comes with a tablet computer pre-loaded with therapy games and activities that have been specifically designed to train all of the upper extremity joints – fingers, wrist, elbow and shoulder – needed for Activities of Daily Living (ADLs).
Specifically, NeuroBall currently trains:
- Individual finger flexion and extension
- Grasp and release
- Wrist flexion and extension
- Forearm pronation and supination
- Wrist circumduction
- Elbow flexion and extension
- Shoulder flexion and extension
- Grip strength
NeuroBall motivates patients to use their arm and hand more than ever before, encouraging them to do hundreds of movement repetitions (reps) every day. A high number of reps is required to trigger neuroplasticity and leads to motor recovery.
How does the ‘fun’ element support rehabilitation?
NeuroBall’s games and activities are fun and engaging. They become increasingly challenging as patients improve, encouraging training every day.
In clinical studies, NeuroBall users performed over 20 times more repetitions at home with NeuroBall than compared to a conventional therapy session in the clinic.
Users can measure progress and even compete with others via NeuroBall’s online Leaderboard.
The comprehensive NeuroBall Package includes the device and tablet preloaded with interactive games and activities; clinical training and ongoing support is also provided to all users through our clinical partners.
Software updates with new features and activities are automatic and included at no additional charge.
Importantly, NeuroBall is very versatile, and suitable for a broad range of patient types and abilities. NeuroBall is suitable for in clinic and home use in a wide range of patient diagnoses and severity levels.
In general, if someone can actively or passively open their hand and place it around a water bottle, and sit upright (with or without assistance) for 5 minutes, they can use NeuroBall.
Could you tell us more about the clinical research backing NeuroBall.
Two clinical trials at a leading university (Brunel University, London) demonstrated exceptional ease of use, high patient engagement, reduction in arm pain and improvements in movement quality and patients’ ability to perform activities of daily living.
The second clinical trial also demonstrated patients were able to do more frequent and more intense upper limb activities, but without an increase in fatigue, spasticity or pain.
In the At Home Feasibility Study, the average number of daily repetitions during the seven-week study was over 20 times that seen in a typical upper extremity session.
The In-Clinic Usability Study demonstrated that patients were easily able to use NeuroBall independently and found it helpful to their rehab. A Clinical Evidence Summary can be downloaded from our website.
What feedback have you had from patients and clinicians?
Hearing from patients and clinicians has been the most rewarding part of my job!
We consistently hear from patients that they are able to do more activities easier and with less pain since using NeuroBall. It’s motivating to the entire Neurofenix team to hear from these patients and their loved ones about the positive impact NeuroBall has had on their lives.
From clinicians, we consistently hear that they find NeuroBall very simple to set up and use and that the fun and engaging activities and games motivate their patients to exercise more often and more intensely.
Therapists often struggle with the challenge of motivating patients to train at home. NeuroBall provides a solution, and because it’s a “smart” device, therapists can monitor their patients’ compliance and progress remotely.
There are lots of inspiring stories on our website’s Success Stories page.
Where can we find out more?
It’s easy to learn if NeuroBall is right for a clinician’s service and their patients.
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