Skip to main content

Study of Assistive Technology for People with Muscular Dystrophy Debuts

June 01, 2021

Abilitech Medical has announced the recruitment phase of its upcoming clinical study of the Abilitech™ Assist, an assistive technology device that helps restore use of weak upper arms. The study will include 35 people with Muscular Dystrophy (MD) and take place at Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare and at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis. The Schulze Multi-Center Muscular Dystrophy Ability Study is funded by the Schulze Family Foundation, which supports organizations operating in the areas of human and social sciences and health and medicine, making major investments in projects with the potential to reduce human suffering through advances to medical science.  

To learn more about the study, contact the clinical research team at Gillette or visit the Abilitech Medical website. The research will be conducted in person, within environments that provide a safe experience for participants.  

The research team will study the use of the Assist, which facilitates independent control of the arms by supporting and assisting both the shoulder and elbow for people with minimal strength. Software customizes the spring tension to allow people to lift objects such as a fork, phone, or water bottle, and other items that weigh up to 12 ounces. The objective of the study is to measure how the Assist can help people living with MD independently complete activities of daily living. 

“Our goal is to restore independence to make everyday activities possible for those living with diseases that limit the use of their arms – more than one million people in the U.S.,” said Angie Conley, founder and CEO of Abilitech Medical.  

According to Dr. Mark Gormley, section chief for pediatric physical medicine and rehabilitation at Gillette, who will lead the research, “Abilitech Medical has studied user experience and outcomes with the device from the earliest development stages. This study will be the most meaningful input yet into how the Assist can impact the quality of life for an MD patient. We look forward to observing participants achieving everyday milestones, many for the first time in their lives.” 

Barbara Walczyk Joers, president and CEO at Gillette, adds: “Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare is committed to providing the highest quality of care for those we serve. We are constantly striving to bring innovative technology to improve individual patient outcomes. We are excited to begin this important study to help provide opportunities for individuals living with physical disabilities so that they can more fully participate in their family, school and community.” 

The Assist is listed with the FDA and commercially available today. It is for use by people with MD, Multiple Sclerosis and Spinal Cord Injuries. Individuals and their caregivers seeking an Assist device can contact Abilitech Medical via its website to schedule a confidential assessment and be referred to an Abilitech Medical-trained clinic for a device fitting. 

About Abilitech Medical  

Abilitech Medical brings innovative solutions to market for people living with upper-limb neuromuscular conditions that prevent their arms from functioning independently. The company’s first product, the Abilitech™ Assist, is a one-of-a-kind powered orthotic device that provides functional assistance and support to both the elbow and the shoulder and will improve the lives of people in the U.S. affected by neuromuscular weakness by aiding in the completion of essential activities of daily living.  

About Gillette Children's

Based in St. Paul, Minnesota, Gillette Children's Specialty Healthcare cares for patients who have some of the most complex, rare and traumatic conditions in pediatric medicine, including cerebral palsy, epilepsy, spina bifida and hydrocephalus. Children who have disabilities and complex medical needs—and their families—have been at the center of our mission for nearly 125 years. Learn more about how we’ve built on our long history to set the standard of care for some of the most challenging childhood conditions.