Polyform-1h in the News
The following article is the transcript of a video available on the Catalyst Customer Testimonial page. Click here to watch.
Well, after years of development, a neurologist in Evansville is now selling a tool he invented to help his patients regain use of their hands. Business of Health reporter Kylie Valeta is here now with more. This is a great, great story.
Really interesting story, Gerry. Now, this tool is designed for people who lose hand function after a brain injury, very often a stroke. Using conventional methods, Dr. Luke Bar says 50 to 80% of those patients don’t regain function in their hands. The high number frustrated him, and that sparked the idea for his device called Polyform-1h. Stroke and brain injuries often cause loss of function in only one hand. So, most rehab methods focus on only the compromised hand. But Barr says studies show that using both hands together is the best way to regain function in one.
And that’s the main concept behind his device. While some two-handed rehab tools are on the market, Barr says they’re very expensive robotics that the vast majority of patients can’t access. He says the Polyform-1h is simple but sophisticated. Patients use both hands to squeeze and rotate the device, which triggers the brain’s natural ability to rewire itself to overcome new challenges.
It’s that coordination of the left hand and the right hand. And because our brain is crisscrossed, the right side of the brain controls our left hand, and our left side of our brain controls the right hand. So, to coordinate the two together, both sides of the brain have to be activated in coordination. And from a lot of studies, we’ve learned that when you activate the brain in that way, it increases the brain’s ability to change itself. And we term that neuroplasticity.
Now, Barr says his idea hit a wall when several manufacturers told him it was impossible to produce the device affordably. That led him to Indianapolis based Catalyst, a product development firm, which he says was a game changer. He’s currently selling his first batch of devices and hoping to produce a second batch soon.
I think a great part of that story are the resources that he used to make that happen around the state, including Evansville.
Yeah, even he said, I’m a neurologist. What do I know about injection molding? So, he worked with USI’s Applied Research Lab. They made his first few prototypes. Of course, he worked with Catalyst, who really brought him from Point A to Z to where he is now. And now he’s also looking at IU Stone Family Center in Evansville to help him conduct some studies. So he’s sampling help from all over the state. But right there in Evansville too.
That’s good stuff. Thanks very much, Kylie.