Boston Herald on Theracycle: “Parkinson’s sufferers will reap benefits”

Fans of the Theracycle will want to read this just-published (2-15-12) article written by Boston Herald business reporter Brendan Lynch titled “Exercise Bike Reinvented– Parkinson’s sufferers will reap benefits”  featuring an interview with Peter Blumenthal.

Read on below or see the article at the BostonHerald.com website at  bit.ly/wPBTRa

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Boston Herald
Exercise bike reinvented
Parkinson’s sufferers will reap benefits

By Brendan Lynch            Wednesday, February 15, 2012
http://www.bostonherald.com  |  Technology Coverage

 

Article URL: http://www.bostonherald.com/business/technology/general/view.bg?articleid=1403672

A Franklin company bought out of bankruptcy in 2002 has landed federal funding for its “forced exercise” technology — motorized exercise equipment — to help treat people suffering from Parkinson’s disease.

“It sounds counter-intuitive,” Theracycle CEO Peter Blumenthal told the Herald. “Why would you ever use an exercise bike with motors? But you can overcome the motors as you regain strength.”

Theracycle won a $200,000 Small Business Innovation Research grant to modify its bike to replicate a therapeutic effect caused by tandem bicycle riding discovered by a Cleveland Clinic study.

In August, the company plans to apply for a Phase II SBIR grant, which could be as high as $2 million, to prove the bike would be effective in treating Parkinson’s.

People with Parkinson’s or other mobility-limiting conditions, such as multiple sclerosis, stroke, cerebral palsy or spinal cord injuries, often don’t exercise at all because it’s so difficult, which exacerbates their condition.

“(Exercise) gives the same benefit a healthy individual gets, except it’s much more important,” Blumenthal said. “Since their bodies are so decimated, they get secondary conditions, like Type 2 Diabetes, poor circulation, stiffness.”

Blumenthal once owned the retail chain Frame King, but sold it in 1998 for “between $5 million and $10 million.” In 1999, he was struck by a car in Newton while riding a bike. He broke his neck, but was not paralyzed.

“When I started rehab I found it was impossible to use traditional exercise equipment,” he said. “I couldn’t do it.”

In 2002, a friend told him about The Exercycle Co. He bought the 60-year-old Rhode Island company out of bankruptcy for $150,000, moved it to Franklin, and changed its name to Theracycle to reflect its new status as a medical device.

The company, with about eight employees, is moving toward profitability, Blumenthal said, and sells the bikes to homes and hospitals for $3,000 to $5,500.

Blumenthal is confident in Theracycle’s market opportunity — there are 1.5 million people with Parkinson’s disease in the United States.

“If we could get 1 percent of that market, that’s 15,000 bicycles,” he said. “That becomes a $75 million business.”

Article URL: http://www.bostonherald.com/business/technology/general/view.bg?articleid=1403672

Copyright: Boston Herald

Bicycling helping people with Parkinson’s curb their symptoms

Image Credit: Matt McClain/Washington Post

As its title suggests, a January 10, 2012 feature article in The Washington Post (Bicycling and other exercise may help people with Parkinson’s curb their symptoms,) states “while it cannot cure Parkinson’s, heavy-duty exercise shows promise for countering, even delaying, the inability to move that the disease causes.”

In her article, Post reporter Alice Reid details results that medical researchers and Parkinson’s patients are seeing from regular, intense exercise (such as rowing and cycling)

The article notes that the National Parkinson Foundation “emphasizes exercise as an important tool to fight the disease,” and “The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research has funded close to $3 million in exercise research.”

Jay Alberts, the Cleveland Clinic researcher best known for his landmark work on “Forced Exercise” (cycling for Parkinson’s therapy) is quoted throughout the piece. A ‘just-completed study’ conducted by Alberts in which patients rode indoor bikes for exercise benefits is featured prominently.

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Contact Congress Today to Save SBIR

Call or Email Congress NOW to Save SBIR

If you’ve been following the Theracycle Blog, you may know that we recently received a hard-to-land NIH-SBIR grant to fund research and product development of new Theracycles to benefit people with Parkinson’s disease..

What you may not know (but should)–  is that the 30 year old SBIR (Small Business Innovation Research) program is a political hot potato on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. Of real concern to us is the possibility of the expiration of SBIR programs on December 16, 2011!!

For all of you who share our belief in the importance of continued federal funding of SBIR, please read this urgent appeal from U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu with her clarion call for us to call or email our U.S. Representative to express our strong support to save SBIR…

Please Tweet this message to “Contact Congress Today to Save SBIR”  http://bit.ly/v01T87

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Theracycle: Part of Boston’s Leadership in Life Sciences

Theracycles "Made in Massachusetts" Help Drive Life Sciences Innovation

An 11/29/11 article in Mass High Tech titled “Report: Boston area is top U.S. life sciences hub” cites research from real estate services firm JonesLaSalle that
rates the metropolitan Boston area as the #1 region for established and emerging life sciences businesses (in comparison to other parts of the United States).

An excerpt from the JonesLaSalle 2011 Global Life Sciences Cluster Report reads “The [Boston] area enjoys seven times the number of workers in biotech R&D than the national average.” The area has more than 85,000 high-tech research employees and more than 340,000 hospital and medical employees.

The Mass High Tech article notes the Report “also highlights Massachusetts as the recipient home of 13 percent of all National Institutes of Health funding, with five of the top eight NIH-funded hospitals in the U.S. and the top five NIH-funded universities.”

As an NIH-funded Massachusetts small business, The Exercycle Company is proud to be part and parcel of the Boston-area’s preeminence as the top region for life sciences in the country.  While our operations might be considered small in comparison to some of the med-tech giants that operate in the Bay State — growing demand for our Theracycle (which powers proven exercise therapy for Parkinson’s disease), shows that we’re movin’ up!

Exercise: Particularly beneficial to Parkinson’s patients

In a recent NetDoctor article titled Exercise can be particularly beneficial to Parkinson’s patients” Dr. Michelle Gardner, research development manager at Parkinson’s UK, claimed that, although exercise is beneficial for everyone, it can offer extra advantages for those suffering from Parkinson’s.

Referencing research conducted by the UCSF School of Nursing and Red Hill Studios,  Dr. Gardner said “Many people with Parkinson’s struggle with gait and balance, and playing specially adapted computer games like those mentioned in the study holds real promise for assisting people with Parkinson’s to improve their coordination, regain confidence and become more physically active in day to day life.”

In recently winning its coveted NIH Grant for a Theracycle-driven regimen for Parkinson’s patients, the Theracycle team is building on the success of earlier research.

In 2010, the Red Hill Studios/UCSF Partnership received an NIH grant for $1.1 Million for computer-based physical therapy games for patients with PD. and cerebral palsy.

Fun and Games. Exercise and Health.

 

 

News: Theracycle driving Small Business Innovation

We’re excited to announce that our company has been awarded a coveted “Small Business Innovation Research” grant from the NIH to help advance our efforts to understand how using a Theracycle can help people who live with Parkinson’s Disease.

See our October 17, 2011 Press Release… Continue reading