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Helius Medical's Kim Skininer on neuroplasticity with a wearable device

Neural Implant podcast - the people behind Brain-Machine Interface revolutions

Release Date: 09/05/2023

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Neural Implant podcast - the people behind Brain-Machine Interface revolutions

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Neural Implant podcast - the people behind Brain-Machine Interface revolutions

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RehabWeek Exclusive interview the Kim Skinner
Kim Skinner is the Director of Physical Therapy at Helius Medical Technologies where she is instrumental in the introduction of the PoNS rehabilitation program. Prior to this she was the Physical Therapy Director and Researcher at the University of Wisconsin, Madison working with sensory processing and neurological disorders. She holds a PhD in Physical Therapy and Health Sciences and maintains her license in physical therapy. We met up with Kim at RehabWeek and had a conversation about the company, the rehabilitation science of the PoNS device and where it is going in the future.

Takeaways:
Harnessing neuroplasticity in rehabilitation stimulation must be paired with an activity.
Clinical interfaces need to intuitive and easy to use for the clinician.
How is your brain today? Can we bring people to check their brain health like they check their smartphone?


[0:00] Introduction and Jen French from Neurotech Reports kicks off the conversation RehabWeek exhibit floor at Helius Medical.
[0:25] Kim Skinner introduces herself and Helius Medical and new PoNS device. She worked in the initial research for the device.
[1:12] Description of the PoNS device components, how it works and the target indications and clinical application of mild to moderate brain injury with chronic balance deficits. They designed a 14-week rehabilitation program harnessing neuroplasticity.
[4:10] Further discussion about application of the technology to other indications that have balance issues. Their initial focus is on the brain injury population, but more research needs to be done on how this can benefit other populations.
[5:18] Discussion of the design of their clinical trials and some of the challenges associated with that both in the clinical and at home. They have a training template that can be individualized for each patient.
[6:39] Skinner further describes the training protocols and when to stimulation to maximize outcomes couples with balance training and movement exercises to prime the brain.
[8:26] The stimulating device goes onto the tongue rather than skin. How does that feel or taste? She also talks about the stimulation pattern and parameters as well as
[9:53] Discussion of the 143 electrode array design and how they mapped the tongue to figure out the stimulating rate.
[12:19] The visual substitution device was the predecessor of this device and how it evolved out of the University of Wisconsin, Madison.
[13:16] Skinner talks about where the PoNS device is currently available with a prescription and how they are working on availability in the US, Europe and Australia. It is currently approved in Canada through the HeuroCanada clinics.