Researchers at Virginia's George Mason University are developing an ultrasound system designed to help users control upper-limb prostheses by sensing muscle activity. Ultrasound transducers are able to differentiate muscle groups more accurately than electrodes, giving patients more dexterity, researcher Siddhartha Sikdar said.
Minnesota-based Tillges Certified Orthotic and Prosthetic clinic introduced Ottobock's new Empower prosthetic ankle this week in Minnesota, while Ottobock says more than 1,500 patients are already using the device. Clinic owner Michael Tillges said the powered device helps propel amputees up and down hills, ramps and slopes.
Sugar added to a hydrogel dressing could encourage blood vessel formation and aid in healing wounds such as those caused by diabetes, according to a study in the journal Materials Today. "The new skin healing technique using simple sugars promises to aid wound healing more simply, meaning patients would need less treatment, clinicians could treat more patients and significant savings could be made by national healthcare systems," said researcher Sheila MacNeil.
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy did not prevent amputation or significantly improve wound healing in diabetes patients with ischemic lower-extremity ulcers, compared with the standard care only group, but the treatment did significantly improve limb salvage for patients who received at least 30 HBOT sessions or who stopped the treatment early because their wounds had fully healed, according to a study in Diabetes Care. Dutch researchers used a cohort of 120 diabetes patients and also found that 92% of the full-course HBOT group achieved amputation-free survival, compared with 67% in the standard care only group.
Johnson & Johnson's blood thinner Xarelto, or rivaroxaban, taken with aspirin, cut the rate of major amputations in patients with peripheral artery disease by 70% compared with aspirin alone, according to an analysis in The Lancet. The Xarelto regimen also reduced deaths in patients with coronary artery disease by 23%.
The latest figures from the CMS show that almost 1.5 million shoppers selected Affordable Care Act plans in the first two weeks of enrollment this year, nearly 500,000 higher than in the same period last year. Among this year's enrollees are 345,719 who are new to the exchange, compared with 246,433 a year ago.
Congressional Republicans' tax bill, which is forecast to increase the federal deficit by $1.5 trillion over 10 years, could trigger a $25 billion cut to Medicare next year, according to the Congressional Budget Office. "Without enacting subsequent legislation to either offset that deficit increase, waive the recordation of the bill's impact on the scorecard, or otherwise mitigate or eliminate the requirements of the [pay-go] law, [the Office of Management and Budget] would be required to issue a sequestration order within 15 days of the end of the session of Congress to reduce spending in fiscal year 2018 by the resultant total of $136 billion," the CBO wrote.
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