Doctoral student designs pneumatically powered AFO | Student designs unique prosthesis for rock climbing | Socks use technology to help prevent diabetic foot ulcers
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June 3, 2014
AOPA In Advance SmartBrief
News for Professionals in the Orthotics, Prosthetics and Pedorthics Profession

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Doctoral student designs pneumatically powered AFO
A doctoral student at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign has designed a pneumatically powered ankle-foot orthosis designed to help users push off on flat terrain or stairs. Patients wear a bottle of carbon dioxide on a belt to power the device, which has force and positional sensors and a pneumatic actuator that allows foot flexion along with motion control and joint stability. Lead researcher Morgan Boes presented the AFO at a multiple sclerosis conference. MedPage Today (free registration) (5/31)
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Student designs unique prosthesis for rock climbing
Kai Xiang Lin, a design student at the Pratt Institute, wanted to do something for veterans who were missing limbs as a result of their service, so he created an artificial leg specifically designed for rock and mountain climbing. The leg, inspired by the remarkable ability of mountain goats to negotiate steep terrain, features flexible and rigid elements for climbing along with a contact point half the size of a normal shoe. The Inquisitr (5/31)
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Socks use technology to help prevent diabetic foot ulcers
Physicians at the University of Arizona Medical Center in Tucson have developed socks that monitor pressure in the feet of diabetic patients and help prevent ulcers that can lead to amputation. "These Smart Sox were designed to identify both locations of the foot and ranges of motion that could be problematic,” said Dr. Bijan Najafi, one of the researchers who developed the socks, which are expected to be commercially available by 2019. The study was funded by the Qatar National Research Fund. Fox Business (6/2)
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Apple video features British teen with i-limb hand
Patrick Kane is the first teenager in the U.K to be fitted with Touch Bionics' i-limb ultra revolution prosthetic hand, which is controlled by an iPhone application. Kane, who used an earlier iteration of the hand to carry the torch for the 2012 London Olympics, appears in Apple videos promoting the company's 2014 World Wide Developers Conference. The iOS app, called biosim, enables Kane to grasp objects of almost any shape and to tie his shoes. Business Insider (6/2)
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Medical News
Better diabetes outcomes seen with intensive lifestyle changes
Data on overweight and obese type 2 diabetes patients showed those who followed an intensive lifestyle intervention had a lower risk of incident depression and attained better physical function than those who received diabetes support and education. The findings appear in the journal Diabetes Care. News (6/2)
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Other News
Legislative and Regulatory
20 health systems to participate in ACO metrics project
Twenty U.S. health care systems, including Essentia Health, have said they will participate in a new accountable care project coordinated by the National Committee for Quality Assurance and funded by the Commonwealth Fund. The project aims to study how well ACOs calculate and report performance on quality metrics and how well those measures work. The NCQA will work with participating organizations to define metrics, create benchmarks and identify challenges with measurement. The Brainerd Daily Dispatch (Minn.) (6/2)
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Trend Watch
Scientists and philosophers consider ethical issues in neuroprosthetics
Scientists at the University of Washington are collaborating with philosophers to grapple with ethical issues involved in the development of neuroprosthetics. "When we implant electrodes into brains for therapeutic reasons, all of a sudden we may be stimulating regions of the brain, and that means we're controlling regions of the brain. That raises some ethical concerns," says biology professor Tom Daniel in this video. (5/30)
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Amputee's long road back leads to motocross and Baja 500
Jesse Williamson, who lost both legs to an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan, experienced a long, tough path to recovery, aided in large measure by his love of dirt-bike racing. This weekend he will be the first double amputee to compete in the Baja 500 off-road race in Mexico, wearing special prosthetic feet that have built-in shock absorbers. "I've had to train pretty hard to do this. From where I was to now is a huge difference," he said. The Associated Press (5/31)
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Breaking news from AOPA
Legislators in action for O&P! Reps. Duckworth and Rokita author a joint letter challenging HHS/CMS on ALJs, RACs and more! The final letter has 30 congressional co-signers. Get the scoop here! AOPA is collecting video footage to create a public relations campaign promoting the Dobson-DaVanzo cost effectiveness study. O&P saves lives and money -- submit your patient care footage to AOPA ASAP! There are 36 credits approved for AOPA's 2014 National Assembly. Assembly registration is OPEN -- register today! All of this and more in today's AOPA Breaking News.
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Upcoming events
June 11: The Self Audit: A Useful Tool, telephone audio conference  Learn more or register online
June 12-13:
Mastering Medicare: Coding & Billing Seminar, Boston, Mass. Learn more or register online.
Sept. 4-7: AOPA 2014 National Assembly, Las Vegas, Nev. Learn more.
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