Synthetic muscle holds promise for prosthetics | Device can help improve balance and gait | Robotic hand will allow girl to throw out first pitch in World Series game
September 21, 2017
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Synthetic muscle holds promise for prosthetics
A synthetic muscle developed by engineers at Columbia University's School of Engineering and Applied Sciences can be 3D printed and lift up to 1,000 times its own weight. The silicone rubber device, which has applications for prosthetics, is actuated by running a low power charge through a thin resistive wire embedded in the material.
International Business Times (9/20) 
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Science and Technology
Device can help improve balance and gait
RxFunction, a startup based in Edina, Minn., said its experimental Walkasins device more than doubled the proportion of patients with peripheral neuropathy who showed meaningful improvement in gait and balance. The device uses foot pads and a central processing unit to assess weight distribution, with devices at the ankle that vibrate to remind the user to adjust balance or gait.
Star Tribune (Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minn.) (tiered subscription model) (9/20) 
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Robotic hand will allow girl to throw out first pitch in World Series game
Students at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas designed a 3D-printed robotic hand in 2015 for then-5-year old Hailey Dawson, who was born without three fingers on her right hand. Two years later, Hailey, who has since thrown out several ceremonial pitches at Major League Baseball games, will throw out the first pitch before the fourth game of the World Series.
ZDNet (9/20) 
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Medical News
Calif. sees spike in diabetes-related amputations
Medical professionals remain puzzled as to the exact causes of a sharp rise in amputations among diabetes patients in California, which rose 31% from 2010 to 2016, and an even more dramatic jump of 66.4% in San Diego County during the same time period. An aging population and the prevalence of diabetes are factors, and some say decisions to move more quickly on amputations of toes and feet to save ankles and legs could also be contributing.
Inewsource (9/20) 
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Flatworms offer insights into skin tissue regeneration process
Freshwater flatworms, or planaria, are being studied at India's Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine for their ability to regenerate completely from even small pieces. One finding is that outer skin cells seem to interact with stem cells in wound healing and stem cell function.
The Hindu Business Line (India)/India Science Wire (9/21) 
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AOPA News
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Legislative and Regulatory
International organization to evaluate exoskeletons
ASTM International, which establishes global scientific and materials standards, is forming a committee to evaluate exoskeletons and exosuits that have emerged from defense and medical research. The committee will focus on five areas: task performance and environmental considerations; design and manufacturing; maintenance and disposal; security and information technology; and human factors and ergonomics.
Product Design & Development online (9/19) 
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Republicans intend to vote on Graham-Cassidy ACA repeal bill next week
Republicans intend to vote on Graham-Cassidy ACA repeal bill next week
(Franck Fife/AFP/Getty Images)
A spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said the senator plans to bring the Graham-Cassidy health care bill to a vote next week, but it remains unclear whether the party has enough votes to advance the bill. The legislation, which is seen as the GOP's last attempt to repeal portions of the Affordable Care Act under reconciliation rules before the Sept. 30 deadline, is predicted to cut funding to states by $215 billion through 2026, and 34 states are expected to be affected by the reductions, according to an Avalere Health analysis.
Reuters (9/21),  The Hill (9/20) 
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Bipartisan governors sent letter opposing GOP repeal bill
A bipartisan group of governors from 10 states sent a letter to Senate leaders expressing concerns about the Graham-Cassidy bill, which would convert Affordable Care Act funding into block grants for states as well as cut Medicaid over time. The governors called for bipartisan efforts to stabilize the insurance marketplaces.
The Washington Post (tiered subscription model) (9/19) 
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Trend Watch
Double amputee summits Nepal peak
Hari Budha Magar, a British Gurkha soldier injured in Afghanistan, became the first above-knee double amputee to climb Mera Peak, the highest climbing mountain in Nepal. His next goal is to climb Mount Everest in 2018.
The Himalayan Times (Nepal) (9/21) 
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In life, there is always a hurdle.
Gail Devers,
track and field athlete
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