Equistasi is a portable vibration-generating device designed to help Friedreich’s Ataxia patients regain some of their muscle control.
The vibrations cause small changes in the length of muscles, tendons, and neuromuscular spindles, which are bundles of small muscles where nerves end. The stimulation improves the information transmitted from muscles and tendons to the brain and spinal cord.
What is Equistasi?
Equistasi is a small rectangular device whose nanotechnology fibers transform body temperature into vibrations that can generate small changes in muscle length.
It has a number of applications. Three of them are orthopedic and neurological rehabilitation and posture correction. It can also ease the pain of sports injuries.
Equistasi helps improve unstable posture in Parkinson’s patients and walking disabilities in people with multiple sclerosis, research has shown. It also improves calf muscle reflex problems in healthy people.
In a small open-label pilot study, five people with Friedreich’s ataxia and six with spinocerebellar ataxia used Equistasis three hours a day, five days a week, for three weeks. Each wore three devices at a time —two on the tendons of each calf muscle and one on the spine’s seventh cervical vertebra.
While they were using the devices, they stuck with the physical training that their rehabilitation center had advised.
The group showed significant improvement on a variety of muscle-control and related measurements after the three weeks, and reported no adverse effects. The measurements included the scale for the assessment and rating of ataxia, or SARA; the nine holes peg test, or 9-HPT; the pataka speech impairment test; the six-minute walk test, or 6MWT; and spatial and temporal gait parameters. Gait is a person’s style of walking.
Scores worsened after patients stopped using Equistasi, but the differences weren’t significant, except on some gait measurements.
The study offered the first evidence that Equistasi may improve limb and gait ataxia — or loss of movement — in people with Friedreich’s ataxia. Further studies are needed to confirm the results, researchers said.
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