US20080222769A1 - Garment-integrated proprioceptive feedback system - Google Patents

Garment-integrated proprioceptive feedback system Download PDF

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Publication number
US20080222769A1
US20080222769A1 US11/724,676 US72467607A US2008222769A1 US 20080222769 A1 US20080222769 A1 US 20080222769A1 US 72467607 A US72467607 A US 72467607A US 2008222769 A1 US2008222769 A1 US 2008222769A1
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Prior art keywords
garment
integrated
proprioceptive feedback
proprioceptive
feedback system
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Abandoned
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US11/724,676
Inventor
Hillary Natonson
Jody Miller
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Hillary Natonson
Jody Miller
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Priority to US11/724,676 priority Critical patent/US20080222769A1/en
Assigned to NATONSON, HILARY reassignment NATONSON, HILARY ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST (SEE DOCUMENT FOR DETAILS). Assignors: Miller, Jody
Priority claimed from US12/049,083 external-priority patent/US8095994B2/en
Publication of US20080222769A1 publication Critical patent/US20080222769A1/en
Application status is Abandoned legal-status Critical

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    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A61MEDICAL OR VETERINARY SCIENCE; HYGIENE
    • A61HPHYSICAL THERAPY APPARATUS, e.g. DEVICES FOR LOCATING OR STIMULATING REFLEX POINTS IN THE BODY; ARTIFICIAL RESPIRATION; MASSAGE; BATHING DEVICES FOR SPECIAL THERAPEUTIC OR HYGIENIC PURPOSES OR SPECIFIC PARTS OF THE BODY
    • A61H9/00Pneumatic or hydraulic massage
    • A61H9/005Pneumatic massage
    • A61H9/0078Pneumatic massage with intermittent or alternately inflated bladders or cuffs
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A61MEDICAL OR VETERINARY SCIENCE; HYGIENE
    • A61HPHYSICAL THERAPY APPARATUS, e.g. DEVICES FOR LOCATING OR STIMULATING REFLEX POINTS IN THE BODY; ARTIFICIAL RESPIRATION; MASSAGE; BATHING DEVICES FOR SPECIAL THERAPEUTIC OR HYGIENIC PURPOSES OR SPECIFIC PARTS OF THE BODY
    • A61H2201/00Characteristics of apparatus not provided for in the preceding codes
    • A61H2201/50Control means thereof
    • A61H2201/5058Sensors or detectors
    • A61H2201/5071Pressure sensors
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A61MEDICAL OR VETERINARY SCIENCE; HYGIENE
    • A61HPHYSICAL THERAPY APPARATUS, e.g. DEVICES FOR LOCATING OR STIMULATING REFLEX POINTS IN THE BODY; ARTIFICIAL RESPIRATION; MASSAGE; BATHING DEVICES FOR SPECIAL THERAPEUTIC OR HYGIENIC PURPOSES OR SPECIFIC PARTS OF THE BODY
    • A61H2205/00Devices for specific parts of the body
    • A61H2205/08Trunk

Abstract

The present invention generally relates to a flexible, detachable, pressure- providing garment that can be worn by a subject in order to provide to the subject sensory and body awareness.

Description

    FIELD OF THE INVENTION
  • The present invention relates to a garment that can be used in the management of autism. More specifically, the garment contains an integrated propioceptive feedback system in which each portion of the garment is detachable from said garment.
  • BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • Autism is characterized by difficulties with social interaction, speech and communication, and by a compulsive core. Autistic individuals often display compulsive, repetitive behaviors. First described by Kanner in 1943, autism affects social and communicative abilities and is also characterized by compulsive/repetitive behaviors such as stereotypic complex hand and body movements, craving for sameness, and narrow repetitive interests (American Psychiatric Press, 1994 DSM-IV). In addition, there is high co-morbidity with inattention-hyperactivity, impulsivity and aggression, self injury, mood instability, mental retardation and epilepsy, making care for these individuals an even greater challenge for families and institutional settings.
  • Autism belongs to a group of pervasive developmental disorders (PDD) as characterized by both DSM IV and World Health Organization: International Classification of Diseases, Tenth revision (ICD-10)). Many children diagnosed with Autism, for example, suffer from primary diffuse gastrointestinal problems such as protracted diarrhea and constipation. Unfortunately, there is currently no known treatment beyond that which is symptomatic, and these conventional methods have proven unsuccessful in allowing such children and adults to become symptom- or disorder-free.
  • It has been shown that placing weights on the muscles of the shoulder girdle of an individual or animal has a calming effect. This effect is known as proprioception or deep touch-pressure effect. This calming effect can be an important goal in teaching children with autism and others with attention difficulties such as autism or pervasive developmental disorders. See VandenBerg, N. L.; Vol. 55, No. 6, AJOT 621-628, The Use of Weighted Vest to Increase On-Task Behavior in Children with Attention Difficulties and Fertel-Daly, D., Bedell, G., & Hinojosa, J. (2001). Vol. 55, No. 6, AJOT, 629-640, Effects of a Weighted Vest on Attention to Task and Self-Stimulatory Behaviors in Preschoolers With Pervasive Developmental Disorders. A weighted garment can, for example, calm children who have problems moderating their own level of arousal, preventing them from paying attention or attending to tasks. A weighted vest can allow them to focus attention through the physiological effects of sustained pressure.
  • Unfortunately, application of a typical weighted garment known in the art for this task yields minimal results. The vests are: bulky and unattractive in, for example, a schoolroom setting; they do not apply direct pressure to the shoulder girdle area, but only add weight by hanging and pulling down on areas of the body from which the fabric is supported, causing discomfort; and they do not meet the needs of a school setting to keep items clean and durable. Further, the vest should be comfortable for prolonged use, including sitting. As such, there remains a need for a garment that will readily delivery propioceptive therapy which garment avoids the shortcomings in the art and could be incorporated into standard clothing. Such a garment could be used to accommodate a variety of therapies where propioception is needed and is simple in design to allow for a durable, concealed, attractive, and economical product available for use in most educational settings, or within a child's every day environmental settings.
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • The present invention provides a garment-integrated proprioceptive feedback system, comprising a garment that comprises: a torso portion having incorporated one or more inflatable bladders; sleeve portions, each sleeve portion having incorporated one or more inflatable bladders; leg portions, each leg portion having incorporated one or more inflatable bladders; a pressurizing mechanism, the pressurizing mechanism pneumatically coupled to the inflatable bladders; a controller device, communicatively coupled to the pressurizing mechanism; wherein each said torso, sleeve and leg portion is detachable from said garment.
  • In preferred embodiments, the garment-integrated proprioceptive feedback system of the invention is one in which the pressurizing mechanism comprises at least one pump. In other preferred embodiments the garment-integrated proprioceptive feedback system of the invention is one in which the pressurizing mechanism comprises at least one pre-compressed air source.
  • Particularly preferred garment-integrated proprioceptive Feedback systems of the invention have incorporated into them one or more-pressure sensors associated with the inflatable bladders. Such garment-integrated proprioceptive feedback-systems are further characterized by having pressure sensors located in the bladders. In some embodiments, the pressure sensors may but need not necessarily be located between the bladders and the garment material. In other specific examples, the pressures sensors are located in the pressurizing mechanism.
  • In specific embodiments the garment-integrated proprioceptive feedback system of the invention has the controller device being communicatively-coupled to the one or more pressure sensors. Preferably, the controller device incorporates an automatic shut-off feature.
  • In preferred embodiments, the garment-integrated proprioceptive feedback device of the invention has a controller device that allows the user to control adjust the pressurization of the bladders.
  • In certain embodiments, the garment has a power source, where the power for the system is provided by a battery source, e.g., including a chargeable battery. In other embodiments, the power for the system is provided by a standard wall outlet.
  • In specific preferred garments of the invention, the torso portion is separate from the sleeve portions. In still other garments of the invention the torso portion is integrated with the sleeve portions by material around the shoulder. In preferred embodiments in such a garment, the the material around the shoulder is not restrictive of joint movement.
  • In specific embodiments, the garment is one in which the various portions are closed around the wearer by a quick-release type fastener. Examples include but are not limited to snap fastners, Velcro, zippers and the like. In some embodiments, the quick-release type fastener is hook-and-loop material. More specifically the garment-integrated proprioceptive feedback device of the invention has a quick-release type fastener that is adjustable to provide a tight fit over a range of wearer sizes.
  • In still other aspects of the invention there is provided a method for providing sensory input to a subject suffering from a neurological disorder comprising placing said subject in a garment of the invention and inflating one or more of the inflatable bladders in order to provide localized pressure to said subject.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • FIG. 1. Exemplary embodiments of garments of the invention.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS
  • The present invention generally relates to a flexible, detachable, pressure-providing garment that can be worn by a subject in order to provide to the subject sensory and body awareness. The present invention In particular the present invention provides a garment for use in a method of providing sensory input and body awareness to a person suffering from a neurological disorder characterized by impaired motor control, autism, proprioceptive deficits, deep-sensory deficits, or hypersensitivity. In the method, a garment as described herein is worn by the afflicted person. The garment allows for freedom of movement and provides sensory input through inflatable bladders/pressure devices integrated into the garment, however, the garment is such that each of its portions are separately detachable. The garment may be a wearable article such as a shirt, pants, unitard, glove, stocking, hood, torso wrap, compression sleeve, or compression band as long as the separate portions thereof are detachable from the whole garment.
  • In the method for providing sensory input to a person suffering from a neurological disorder characterized by impaired motor control, use of the garment results in an improvement in motor control including improvements in trading, stability, balance, movement, calming, vocalization, and feeding.
  • The garment useful in the present invention may be made from a multidirectional stretchable material that allows freedom of movement and provides sensory input through a compression load to the portion of the body part covered by the garment.
  • The garment provides sensory input and body awareness to the wearer. The sensory input is believed to provide the wearer with an awareness of his or her environment. The sensory input and resulting awareness of the environment is believed to be responsible for the improvements in muscular and motor capabilities of a wearer who suffers from a neurological disorder characterized by impaired motor-control. The sensory input from the garment also leads to improved body control and behavior for persons, particularly children, suffering from a variety of conditions and disorders including hypersensitivity, proprioceptive and deep sensory deficits, and autism.
  • The garment of the invention allows and guides free movement while, at the same time, providing stabilizing support and control. The dynamic aspect of the garment arises from its flexibility, which is imparted to the garment by the multidirectional stretchable material from which the garment is made. The sensory input provided to the wearer by the garment is a result of the compression load applied to the portion of the body covered by the garment. The substantially uniform compression load is due primarily to the nature of the multidirectional stretchable material.
  • As noted above, the sensory input provided by the garment of this invention results from the compression load applied to the portion of the body covered by the garment. The compression load is provided primarily by inflatable bladders that allow for a gentle increase in the compression surrounding a specific body area. In being a garment that has a variety of portions that are separable from the whole garment, the application of compression can be controlled to a specific body area/body part.
  • The garment of the present invention does not include external bracing or supports. Rather, the garment of this invention provides for complete freedom of movement. Accordingly, while traditional support garments are directed to enhancing stability of movement and motor control by providing structural support, the flexible garment of this invention provides sensory input to specific muscle groups to improve the functional capacity of these muscles and, ultimately, to educate the impaired muscles toward more normal function. The garment of the present invention is designed to simulate a massage to the muscles covered by the garment. Unlike other garments and garments the garment of the present invention is not a one-piece garment but is instead comprised of specific individual portions each of which are separately detachable from each other. Each of the separate portions preferably comprises separate pressure sensors and one or more inflatable bladders per each portion of the garment and preferably the pressure sensors are located between the bladders and the garment material.
  • The garment of this invention may be configured to be worn over any portion of the body, including the head, arms, legs, torso, hands, and feet. For example, the garment may be worn over the torso and both arms in which case the garment is configured in the form of a shirt (i.e., a flexible compression shirt). As noted above, the garment may also be worn over both legs as a pair of pants. The garment may also take the form of a suit such as a unitard worn over the torso and arms and legs (i.e., a flexible compression unitard), a stocking worn over a foot, a glove worn over a hand, or a hood worn over the head. The garment may also be worn as a sleeve, legging, or band, to be worn over a portion of an arm, a leg, or the torso, respectively.
  • Having reference to the drawings, where like reference numbers comprise like elements, there is shown in FIG. 1 a garment 10, which includes a torso portion 12, two sleeve portions 14, and a leg portion 16. Each portion 12, 14, 16 includes a shell of lightweight, strong, breathable, and expandable material such as nylon (or similar), enclosing and securing one or more inflatable bladders 18. The properties of the material used, in particular around the shoulder areas of the torso portion 12, should be such that the material does not restrict joint movement. Each inflatable bladder 18 may contain a valve 20, appropriate for the transferal of air or other safely-used gas, into or out of the inflatable bladder 18. Each valve 20 may be connected to a hose 26, which in turn, may be connected to a pressurizing mechanism 24, for the purposes of gas transferal. The pressurizing mechanism 24 may include a pump, a pre-compressed gas source, or any other safe useable alternative.
  • One or more pressure sensors 22 may be supplied in order to measure and transmit the gas pressure within each inflatable bladder 18. Pressure-sensors 22 may be contained within each inflatable bladder 18 (as shown in FIG. 1), or may be located between the material which comprises the garment 10 and the inflatable bladders 18, or may be located within the pressurizing mechanism 24. Each pressure sensor 22 may be connected to one or more controller mechanisms 28 using wiring 30 (although wireless control may be a possibility as well). Using feedback it receives from each pressure sensor 22, the controller mechanism 28 will control the amount of gas pressure within each corresponding inflatable bladder 18, by controlling the operation of the pressurizing mechanism 24 via wiring 30 (although wireless control may be a possibility as well).
  • The controller mechanism 28 may be manually adjusted by the wearer to maximize inflatable bladder 18 effectiveness and comfort, or may be automatically operated according to built-in control criteria. Regardless of manual or automatic operation, an automatic shut-off feature will be included to prevent the over-pressurization of any inflatable bladder 18.
  • A power source 32 may be included to supply power to both the pressurizing mechanism 24 and the controller mechanism 28. This power source 32 may be connected to either of the aforementioned via wiring 30. The power-source 32 maybe self-contained, such as that provided by a battery, or it may be provided through the use of a wall outlet, or similar supply.
  • A fastener 34 may be included along the height of the front of the torso portion 12, in order to secure it around the wearer. This fastener 34 may be of a hook-and-loop design, or other securing type, in order to provide a tight fit for a range of wearer sizes. One or more fasteners 34 may also be included with the garment 10, in order to join together (if desired), the torso portion 12, the sleeve portions 14, and the leg portion 16. Each sleeve portion 14 and leg portion 16 may also include fasteners 34 along their outer or inner edges, in order to allow for various wearer sizes, or to allow for quick installation and removal. Any of the portions of the garment described above can be worn separately, or detached from other parts of the garment.
  • In the garment of the invention it is important that the joint areas should be free to move around without direct pressure.
  • The bladder-containing garments of the invention described above may be worn in combination. For example, the garment may be unitard made of multiple detachable parts. The garment alternatively may be pants or shorts. The garment also may be a shirt. Any one or more of these garments may be worn combination. For example, a unitard may be worn in combination with a shirt. In such a combination, the wearer's torso is covered with a double layer of the propioceptive feedback delivering garments resulting from the overlap of the materials of the shirt and unitard. The double layer provides increased stability as well as increased sensory input, and may be advantageous to certain wearers having more extreme stability and sensory input needs. The garments may be made of any durable, flexible material. They may be made of a single layer of a multidirectional stretchable material (e.g., spandex), alternatively, they may be made of cotton, silks, wools or any traditional durable garment material. In some instance, the garments may be made of multiple layers of stretchable material.
  • The portions may be made detachable by being fastened with Velcro, snap fastners, zippers, or other fastners. In certain preferred embodiments, the material is a spandex material. As used herein, the term “spandex” refers to polyurethane containing fiber. In a preferred embodiment, the spandex material is a Lycra®-based material (trademark of the Dupont Company). Preferred Lycra®-based materials include blends of Lycra® and nylon.
  • The present invention provides a method for improving the motor control of a person suffering from a neurological disorder characterized by impaired motor control. In the method, the wearing of a garment of the invention as described herein by a person suffering from such a neurological disorder, results in an improvement in motor control of the wearer. While wearing the garment may improve the muscular and motor control of a person suffering from a variety of neurological disorders, wearing of the garment will result in improvement in motor control of individuals suffering from neurological disorders such as, for example, encephalopathy including diffuse static encephalopathy and cerebral palsy syndromes. As used herein, the term “cerebral palsy syndrome” refers to a disability resulting from damage to the brain, typically occurring before or during birth and outwardly manifested by muscular incoordination. Generally, cerebral palsy is a paralysis, a complete or partial loss of function or sensation in a part of the body, characterized by involuntary tremors. Cerebral palsy syndromes refer to a number of motor disorders involving impaired involuntary movement. The syndromes fall within four main categories: (1) spastic syndromes (i.e., paralysis including hemiplegia, paraplegia, diplegia, and quadriplegia), (2) athetoid or dyskinetic syndromes (i.e., nervous disorder marked by continual slow movements usually of the extremities), (3) ataxic syndromes (i.e., an inability to coordinate voluntary muscular movements), and (4) mixed forms of these syndromes (e.g., spasticity and athetosis, ataxia and athetosis). The improvements in motor control observed for garment wearers suffering from neurological disorders such as those noted above include improvements in grading, stability, balance, movement, calming, vocalization, and feeding, among others.
  • The use of the garments of this invention has also resulted in improvements in motor control, balance, and stability in children diagnosed with a variety of neuromuscular disorders and conditions including early motor difficulties, hypertonus, proprioceptive deficit, deep-pressure sensory deficit, hypersensitivity, and other motor coordination difficulties. For example, improvements in movements and tone control upon wearing the garment may be observed in children diagnosed with early motor difficulties with hypertonus and proprioceptive and deep-pressure sensory deficits. The garment decreases the hypertonus and improves the control of movement of arms and legs of the afflicted individual. The garments of the invention may readily be tested on children of all ages. In exemplary embodiments, the garment may be put on a baby diagnosed with significant sensory difficulties, including hypersensitivity, increased extensor posturing, primary difficulties with stability and movement control, and showing strong tremors and large tone fluctuations, to produce improvements in organized motion when clothed in garment as described herein. Such clothing will likely produce a calming effect for the child and allow the child to sleep more readily. Wearing of these garments should improve balance, stability, and movement control during periods of usage. It is expected that while the motor skills of the child gained during usage are initially limited to periods when the child is in the garment, over time the motor skills gained during periods of use of the compressed, pressurized garments will carry over into periods when the child was not wearing the garments. Such a learning curve for improvements from the use of the flexible compression garment is not uncommon. Similar results have been described when a spandex-made garment is used (see U.S. Pat. No. 5,782,790, incorporated herein by reference in its entirety).
  • In other examples, the garments may be used on older children. For example, the garment may be used to cloth children that are unable to sit up without other support. As with the studies described in U.S. Pat. No. 5,782,790, it is-expected that use of the novel garments of the invention will allow such a child to have improvements in posture and muscular control as well as initiation of vocalization. The garments also may be worn by subjects that have mixed spastic/athetoid quadriplegia, it is expected that wearing the garments (e.g., pants) will result in decreased equinus and improvements in balance in standing and walking. Other subjects may be those with severe visual difficulties and mild athetoid-type motor incoordination it is expected that such subjects will experience more coordination.
  • In addition to shirts, pants, and unitards, the detachable garments of the invention containing inflatable bladders may also be configured into gloves to provide sensory input and improving motor control and hand use.
  • Improvements in motor control of persons suffering from impaired motor control have been observed soon after the garment is applied to the afflicted person. In general, improvements occur during periods of garment use, increase over time, and depend on the extent that the garment is worn. Although the garment may be continuously worn, learned improvements in motor control have been observed for periods after the garment is removed. It appears that the length of time of improved motor control during periods of nonuse increases with the frequency and duration of use of the garment.
  • The garment may also be used as a therapeutic calming device. Specifically, the garment may be put on a subject sitting in a “Snoozellan Room.” This room is dark and quiet. There are a variety of lights, specialized chairs which vibrate, cause and effect switches which operate lights and sounds.
  • While the preferred embodiment of the invention has been illustrated and described, it will be appreciated that various changes can be made therein without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention.

Claims (20)

1. A garment-integrated proprioceptive feedback system, comprising a garment that comprises:
a torso portion having incorporated one or more inflatable bladders;
sleeve portions, each sleeve portion having incorporated one or more inflatable bladders;
leg portions, each leg portion having incorporated one or more inflatable bladders;
a pressurizing mechanism, the pressurizing mechanism pneumatically coupled to the inflatable bladders;
a controller device, communicatively coupled to the pressurizing mechanism; wherein each said torso, sleeve and leg portion is detachable from said garment.
2. The garment-integrated proprioceptive feedback system of claim 1, wherein the pressurizing mechanism comprises at least one pump.
3. The garment-integrated proprioceptive feedback system of claim 1, wherein the pressurizing mechanism comprises at least one pre-compressed air source.
4. The garment-integrated proprioceptive feedback system of claim 1, having incorporated one or more pressure sensors associated with the inflatable bladders.
5. The garment-integrated proprioceptive feedback system of claim 4, further wherein the pressure sensors are located in the bladders.
6. The garment-integrated proprioceptive feedback system of claim 4, further wherein the pressure sensors are located between the bladders and the garment material.
7. The garment-integrated proprioceptive feedback system of claim 4, further wherein the pressure sensors are located in the pressurizing mechanism.
8. The garment-integrated proprioceptive feedback system of claim 4, further wherein the controller device is further communicatively coupled to the one or more pressure sensors.
9. The garment-integrated proprioceptive feedback device of claim 4, wherein the controller device incorporates an automatic shut-off feature.
10. The garment-integrated proprioceptive feedback device of claim 1, wherein the controller device allows the user to control adjust the pressurization of the bladders.
11. The garment-integrated proprioceptive feedback system of claim 1, wherein power for the system is provided by a battery source.
12. The garment-integrated proprioceptive feedback device of claim 1, wherein power for the system is provided by a standard wall outlet.
13. The garment-integrated proprioceptive feedback device of claim 1, wherein the torso portion is separate from the sleeve portions.
14. The garment-integrated proprioceptive feedback device of claim 1, wherein the torso portion is integrated with the sleeve portions by material around the shoulder.
15. The garment-integrated proprioceptive feedback device of claim 14, further wherein the material around the shoulder is not restrictive of joint movement.
16. The garment-integrated proprioceptive feedback device of claim 1, wherein the portions are closed around the wearer by a quick-release type fastener.
17. The garment-integrated proprioceptive feedback device of claim 16, further wherein the quick-release type fastener is hook-and-loop material.
18. The garment-integrated proprioceptive feedback device of claim 16, further wherein the quick-release type fastener is adjustable to provide a tight fit over a range of wearer sizes.
19. The garment-integrated propioceptive feedback device of claim 1, wherein one or more or each of the joint areas of the garment are free to allow freedom of movement without direct pressure from the device.
20. (canceled)
US11/724,676 2007-03-15 2007-03-15 Garment-integrated proprioceptive feedback system Abandoned US20080222769A1 (en)

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US10098779B2 (en) 2013-03-15 2018-10-16 The Hospital For Sick Children Treatment of erectile dysfunction using remote ischemic conditioning
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