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Neural sleeve developed in Bay Area helping patients walk again

CBS News Live
CBS News Bay Area Live

HALF MOON BAY -- A Half Moon Bay woman has found new strength in life, thanks to help from new bionic technology that was invented here in the Bay Area.

"I have a life-long condition of cerebral palsy. It has impacted my gait such that I have a lot of foot drop and a lot of difficulty moving," said Jan Grierson. "It's a lot of work to walk in these bones, but Cionic has made it so much easier."

She now wears the Cionic Neural Sleeve on a daily basis.

Cionic Neural Sleeve
Cionic Neural Sleeve Cionic

"It's a leg-worn sleeve that uses electrical stimulation to activate the muscles of the 4 major muscle groups in the leg," said Cionic Founder and CEO Jeremiah Robison. "We use this to help people sequence gait and walking, as well as other movements and activities of daily living."

Grierson can now walk with more strength and confidence than she has in many years.

"I feel like I'm in the middle of a medical miracle. I really do," she said. "This is a game changer. It has enriched my life exponentially. I feel like the very best version of myself because the disability is in the rearview mirror in a lot of ways. It's not the first thing people need to meet."

Robison has a personal connection to his new technology.

"12 years ago now, my daughter was diagnosed with cerebral palsy," he said. "It was really, crutches, wheelchairs, walkers; these were the only options available to my daughter. It just felt like, 'If not me, who? And if not now, when?'"

The FDA cleared the Neural Sleeve for use back in March. It's connected to an app. The invention is the first of its kind. People with a variety of mobility-limiting conditions are using it now, says Robison.

"We have users with multiple sclerosis, stroke, cerebral palsy, and spinal cord injury," he said. "There are 35 million Americans who have impacted and impaired mobility. We have an opportunity to really transform their mobility and engagement in the community."

After 15 years of it being effectively off-limits for her, Grierson can now visit her happy place on a routine basis: the bluffs overlooking Half Moon Bay.

"My whole vista has opened up and changed. It's really amazing," she said. "We have turned back time. That's the remarkable thing."

And it's not just her mobility that's being restored, either.

"You don't walk with someone when you're with a walker, they want to make space for you. You're walking on your own. The difference with the sleeve is, I can link arms with my loved ones. That degree of closeness has been restored," she said. "That's amazing for me. It's really tender."

To learn more about Cionic, visit the company's website.

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