Intento Set To Advance Rehabilitation Of Paralyzed Stroke Patients

Intento Set To Advance Rehabilitation Of Paralyzed Stroke Patients
Every year 17 million people have a stroke, the leading cause of disability, costing the society close to $100 billion. More than 5 million are left permanently, severely paralyzed, a majority of these with upper-limb disability. Many can’t dress, wash or even feed themselves, and have to rely on family and carers for the rest of their lives. One of the major factor in determining how much someone recovers after a stroke, is how much therapy they receive. But current therapies are far from cost-effective, and with limited resources, only 50% of patients receive therapy that meet their needs.

The Swiss startup Intento has developed an easy-to-use solution to help severely paralyzed stroke patients recover function in upper limbs. Their technology is based on functional electrical stimulation, consisting of a tablet software and motion-control device that is connected to an electrical stimulator, which is connected to the patient through electrodes. A programmed movements, such as “grasp a glass”, is selected from the tablet, and sent to the motion-control device. Turning a dial on the device controls the electrical stimulation of the muscles and nerves, and thereby the degree of movement of the paralyzed arm according to the programmed movement selected. By doing so, even a totally paralyzed patient can perform physical exercises and relearn motion processes.

The startup plans to launch two versions of the product, one for use in hospitals, followed by a second for simple use at home. Initial studies have shown that 80% of patients doing rehabilitation with Intento’s solution have displayed a clinically relevant improvement after two weeks, compared to only 30% undergoing conventional intensive therapy. 50% of patients using Intento even displayed a very large recovery.

Millions of people have strokes every year, leaving them paralyzed. Intento help these patients to re-learn lost movements already after two weeks of usage. They have developed a novel, non-invasive functional electrical stimulation that enables even completely paralyzed patients to move their upper limbs again. The system can be set up in less than 5 minutes, and patients can move their arm immediately, bringing back motivation and engagement in the progress. In addition, the progress is quantified, allowing doctors and physicians to track the amount of exercises performed by the patient and follow the recovery process more closely.

The cost of strokes in the EU and US alone amounts to over $92 billion. Intento, and their innovative technology, could significantly reduce these numbers by making stroke rehabilitation simpler and more effective. By giving physicians and therapists new resources that allow them to oversee the recovery process more efficiently, they are able to increase access to therapy, accelerate the recovery and significantly improve quality of life to millions of people around the world.

Intento is a spin-off company of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne, and was founded in 2016. The startup has been named as one of the top 100 startups of Switzerland, received the Swiss Medtech Award 2016, and won the Audience Champion award at the Boston Global Pitchfest 2016. They have also won the second stage of Venture Kick, and was part of MassChallenge Switzerland.