The study through the University of Nebraska Medical Center’s Munroe-Meyer Institute is providing alternative therapy for people with MS. Multiple sclerosis causes damage to nerves in the brain and spinal cord, leading to loss of balance, problems moving muscles and numbness.
For 20 minutes four times a day, patients put the device on their tongue while doing physical or balancing exercises. It sends electrical currents through the tongue, activating the nerves. It amplifies brain activity and awareness of the signals. Professor Max Kurz says it’s a groundbreaking study.
“You can see people making breakthroughs and changes in their lives and things that they just couldn’t do before. It’s really beneficial and rewarding in the process.”
Susie Gustafson has been living with MS for 35 years and says even simple things like walking were difficult. But for the past 10 weeks she’s been using a PoNs device, which she says has helped her regain feeling in certain areas of her body, better balance and confidence.
“This is a new lifestyle now that I’m using the PoNs. I look forward to using it. I have more flexibility, easier movement, I don’t have to think about it.”
Once the study’s complete, Dr. Kurz hopes the device will go to FDA testing and could eventually be available for people not only with MS, but with other neurological disorders like Parkinson’s or stroke.