'It's helped me,' says Etobicoke man with MS about device that stimulates the tongue


An Etobicoke man with multiple sclerosis is so impressed with walking gains from a neuro-stimulating program that he’s contemplating a second round of treatment.

Last fall, Peter Nawalaniec, 67, completed PoNS (Portable Neuromodulation Stimulator) Treatment focused on balance and gait exercises in-clinic at Propel Physiotherapy and at home.

The PoNS medical device gently stimulates the tongue’s surface, exciting the neural network flowing to the brain. This neural activity is believed to enable neuroplasticity, which may restore lost function, the company Helius Medical Technologies said.

Nawalaniec reported improved strength, stamina and walking.

“It’s not a miracle cure,” Nawalaniec said. “It’s helped me. I gained strength and stamina. It got to the point, these guys were giving me more exercises. It helped me feel better. How much of that is the physio without the PoNS, I can’t tell.”

Health Canada has approved PoNS for short-term treatment of gait deficit in people with mild to moderate multiple sclerosis (MS) and mild to moderate traumatic brain injury.