Good Research is Hard to Do…

As Chief Medical Officer at AlterG, a large part of my job is to help us organize and oversee the research efforts of our fantastic independent researchers.  We hear directly from some of our customers that high quality research is important to help give scientific validity to the excellent results they see in working with their own patients.  And we agree completely- properly conducted medical and biomechanical research is central to our mission as a medical device company.

And yet there are also times when I laugh because we are questioned about why we are bothering with clinical research at all.  I recall a conversation I had several months ago with a colleague- he’s a fellow team physician at a prominent West Coast university- and he said to me: “Why do you need research?  We already know what the AlterG does for our athletes.  You should just go out and sell it.”  His point was that his university had two years of solid experience with excellent results for their intercollegiate athletes, and focusing on publicizing those excellent results would be all that many people would need to convince them of AlterG’s benefits.

To some extent my colleague’s remarks are right on the mark but we believe the research gives real credibility to AlterG’s clinical usefulness.  AlterG is about so much more than elite athletes.  Kids with cerebral palsy, elderly patients with Parkinson’s disease, overweight individuals unable to exercise in any other way, and a whole lot of orthopedic conditions all benefit from AlterG.  The focus for AlterG all along has been to build a foundation through research in the technology and safety of our products, then branch in to clinically relevant research.  The Clinical Research Summary found on our website is updated quarterly and will give you details on research that’s been completed, published and presented studies, research currently underway, and also research that’s in the planning stages.

A few highlights of the completed research includes:

  • Two published studies showing that a “metabolic prescription” can be made for anyone- the same level of “workout” can be achieved at any level of unweighting by changing speeds
  • A recently presented study showing equations to calculate VO2 based upon unweighting and speed for both walking and running
  • And several studies used EMG activity to show normal walking and running mechanics at all levels of weight support

There are many studies underway in biomechanics, athletic performance, osteoarthritis, neurologic conditions, cerebral palsy, obesity, and orthopedic conditions, and you can read about these as well in the Research Summary.

I’d like to give you some insight into studies that are getting underway now.  Our focus going forward is on high quality studies in core medical conditions.

At Scripps Clinic in La Jolla, California, an exciting study is set to start in which the researchers will be measuring the actual forces inside the knee joint in four total knee replacement patients.

  • With this data, AlterG will have the only evidence in the world showing the actual joint compression forces occurring inside the knee with partial weight bearing, and total knee replacement patients just might have a way to return to jogging for exercise…
  • Other long term studies are starting up in ACL reconstruction, rehabilitation after total knee replacement, hip arthroscopy, running speed, and several others.

As much as we’d like to have the results to give you right now, good quality research is hard to do.  A well conducted clinical study takes anywhere from 6 months to two years to collect the data and several more months to analyze it, and then present it to a peer-reviewed audience.  So for all of you interested in the research- hang in there a bit longer- we’ll have some great stuff for you.

— Dev Mishra, MD