“Lift” Spoon Not Just for Convenience
Lift Labs, a San Francisco based business, developed the “Lift” spoon basically to enable people with movement disorders and tremors to eat comfortably without spilling their “soup” before getting it from the bowl to their mouth. The device senses a tremor when it is first picked up and uses stabilizers to counter the tremor, keeping the contents of the spoon steady. It has a rechargeable battery so it will always be ready to use. Lift Labs is promising more attachments beside the spoon, such as a fork and a key holder will be available soon.
Now a young researcher from the University of Michigan, Dr. Kelvin L. Chou, has found that the “spoon” is not just convenient, but actually helps reduce tremors. This clever fellow tested 15 PARKINSON’S DISEASE patients on three different tasks: holding something in the spoon; eating with the spoon and transferring objects from the spoon to a cup about a foot away. (He actually used small foam blocks instead of actual food.) Subjects were tested with the “spoon” turned off and then again with it turned on. While both subjects and the investigator were supposedly blinded, because of the effect of the device, true blinding might not be possible.
With the exception of two subjects hose tremors were so severe that use of the device was not helpful, the rest saw a reduction of their tremors of between 71% and 76% as measured with an accelerometer. Using the Fahn-Tolosa-Marin Tremor Rating Scale (TRS), all subjects showed a significant improvement on all three tasks when the device was turned on. Improvement in this case meant going from “spilling to minimal spilling”. Tremor was still present, but most of the subjects were impressed with the device and wanted to buy one when it becomes commercially available.
The device, called the Lift Ware Stabilizer, is now available and can be ordered from liftlabsdesign.com. It costs $295.00, but comes with a 30-day money back guarantee. Lift Labs says the cost works out to about 27 cents a meal for a year.
Handheld Device Reduced Tremors. Medscape. Mar. 11, 2014
Review by Marcia McCall