Good vibrations combat memory loss impact

VibeTech restructures to focus on innovation

by Jeff Pederson

Sheboygan Falls News Editor

As it strives to make a wider impact in the healthcare field with its innovative therapeutic vibration science and technology VibeTech Enterprises LLC of Sheboygan has recently fine-tuned its approach and directed its efforts more intensively in the areas of senior care and memory loss.

While a biomedical engineering graduate student at Michigan Tech University in 2000, VibeTech Founder and Chief Executive Officer Dr. Jeff Leismer developed the cutting-edge therapeutic vibration technology while studying how mechanical forces could be safely used to combat bone loss in NASA astronauts during prolonged trips in space.

The Southeast Michigan native’s original research was based on the thought that vibration forces that occur naturally could be replicated to stimulate bone growth by essentially tricking bones into thinking they are being worked as they would be in normal physical activity.

Dr. Leismer has since refined the technology to create a robotic rehabilitation system with therapeutic vibrations to help restore strength and function and reduce pain in patients recovering from injury, surgery or experiencing weakness and frailty due to aging, muscle disuse or immobility.

“Since we first introduced our technology to the eldercare market in 2014, we’ve been seeking to identify market channels for this technology to help people live the highest quality of life in all stages of life,” Leismer said. “Senior care is one of the channels that we have identified, and this collaboration will give us the ability to hone in on it.

“More recently, we have identified people living with Alzheimer’s disease and dementias, who are highly susceptible to falls, as a major beneficiary of VibeTech’s technology,” he said. “Clinicians have found that the technology helps boost mood and reduce falls and fall risk factors in people living with dementia

VibeTech is working with Rocky Knoll Health Care Center in Plymouth in a pilot program to seek improved methods of assisting Alzheimer’s and dementia patients in reducing falls through vibration therapy.

“We have spent a lot of time taking a deep dive in Alzheimer’s disease since Rocky Knoll first piloted our technology in their memory care unit with tremendous success,” Leismer said. “VibeTech has taken an enormous interest in this population, since they are the most prone to falls and fall-related injuries. Wisconsin has the most falls out of any state, and there is no current solution to falls for people living with dementia. We are dealing with patients who can’t follow instructions or go through a standard therapy session, so we have been focused on refining our delivery methods.”

“We have had a number of people with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia try our equipment, which has led to a request for more treatments,” he said. “In fact, we had one patient who had been confined to a wheelchair, get out of the wheelchair and start walking after using our vibration therapy equipment.”

Due to current staffing limitations at many facilities, VibeTech has been working to develop cutting edge software that will allow caregivers and family members to take over the duties of monitoring treatment of Alzheimer’s and dementia patients utilizing VibeTech’s advanced therapy vibration system.

“Due to the healthcare staffing crisis we are seeing at many nursing homes and care facilities, it has become very apparent that there just isn’t enough bandwidth for staff to handle the duty of monitoring patients’ use of our equipment,” VibeTech Marketing and Public Relations Specialist Linda Cates said. “The key is to provide a simpler way for caregivers and family members to monitor this treatment.”

Leismer says Vibe Tech has been directing much of its research and development efforts into making its software more caregiver-friendly.

“We have been working hard to tweak the software side with new apps and software tools that will assist caregivers and family members in engaging and tracking Alzheimer’s and dementia patients who are using the VibeTech equipment,” Leismer said. “This type of treatment is very much needed right now as people with Alzheimer’s and dementia are twice as likely to fall and three times more likely to break a hip on a fall than the average person.”

“Giving more people the ability to administer treatment through the VibeTech equipment will be a major breakthrough for us,” he said. “It will enable more nursing home and assisted living residents, including Alzheimer’s and dementia patients in particular, to use the equipment more frequently. In turn, this will be very helpful in achieving our goals of decreasing the volume of falls, hip fractures and associated risk factors. Research has shown that Wisconsin leads the nation in falls, so it is a big issue for those of use that live here.”

In addition, VibeTech is working with the UW-La Crosse Health Professions Department to give the next generation of clinicians the opportunity to perform clinical research studies  through the use of VibeTech’s technology and to further establish documented clinical results.

Through this collaboration, Leismer has engaged UW-La Crosse Health Professions Department to offer graduate students the opportunity to be involved in the research process.

“Our collaboration with the UW-La Crosse Health Professions Department is being established as a long-term relationship that we are very excited about,” Leismer said. “These graduate students have moved into a vacant lab on the UW-La Crosse campus featuring VibeTech equipment. The students are now preparing to engage in a variety of short and long-term research projects that we hope will lead to additional discoveries that we can apply to our mission of improving the health of patients recovering from injury, surgery or experiencing weakness and frailty in their lower extremities due to aging, disuse or immobility.

“We are particularly pleased to be aligned with the UW-La Crosse Health Professions Department, because it is responsible for more cited and published physical therapy research articles than most other universities,” he said.

VibeTech has also benefitted from moving into a new research and demonstration facility at 1407 North Eighth St. in Sheboygan. The new office has served as a critical resource in enabling the company to generate significant clinical outcomes data and to develop treatment practices from  over 20,000 cases of use (since introduction in 2014) featuring positive outcomes in pain reduction and quality of life, since introduction in 2014.

“We moved into our facility in Sheboygan last April 1, 2018, which has really helped us to gain an edge in our self-sufficiency,” Leismer said. “There are so many great things that have come out of having our own research and demo facility.”

According to Cates, VibeTech has also fine-tuned its mission statement to better reflect its focus as a health care industry-based research and development firm and as a developer and licensor of intellectual property in the area of therapeutic vibration science and technology.

“The mission statement has been updated to shift from developing resources, manufacturing and sales to what VibeTech is really an expert in and that is innovation in the area of therapeutic vibration technology” Cates said. “As a result, the focus going forward will be on innovation and invention in this area and relying on others to integrate the components to actually manufacture the machines.”

“We have moved our focus away from competition and more toward collaboration with the specific goal of assisting seniors and athletes,” Leismer said. “We are striving to create technology that will be valuable to our partners and collaborators. One of our main goals is to work with more partners in the senior care field and seek our software tools that match the needs of the patients that benefit most from vibration therapy.”

Formerly known as VibeTech Inc., the company was restructured as VibeTech Enterprises on Feb. 1, 2019.

“The restructure is key for us because it allows us to accept venture capital,” VibeTech Chief Financial Officer Ed Morgan said. “It fits in with how our mission and vision have evolved to focus on our strengths. Another one of our goals is to bring in more capital to leverage our partners and get our licensee partners in place.

“This allows us to take on investments from corporate entities and it makes us more attractive to investors,” he said.

Most recently, VibeTech added Donna Rippin to its growing staff to fill the role of senior vice president of corporate strategy and branding.

“Donna has a science research background and prior experience working with venture capital as a corporate strategy and branding  executive,” Leismer said. “She will be responsible for our strategic marketing and brand strategy moving forward. She will also be assisting with research grant writing. We are still very lean in numbers, but growing.

“Everyone wears a  lot of hats, which makes for a great team and collaborative atmosphere as we work to build VibeTech and strive to meet all of our goals in the years to come,” he said.

For more information on VibeTech., visit www.vibetechglobal.com, email jeff@vibetechglobal.com or call to speak to Dr. Jeff Leismer at 920-287-1930