Amputee tests Vanderbilt University robotic leg | Lower-cost prosthetic designs win ASME award | N.J. patients test exoskeleton
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May 27, 2014
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AOPA In Advance SmartBrief
News for Professionals in the Orthotics, Prosthetics and Pedorthics Profession

Top Story
Amputee tests Vanderbilt University robotic leg
Amputee Richard Pickle is testing a metal prosthetic leg designed by scientists at Vanderbilt University. The third-generation robotic device is battery-powered and contains software that picks up cues from Pickle's body to return power that helps him move the leg. The device is not expected to be commercially available for at least three years. The Tennessean (Nashville) (tiered subscription model) (5/24)
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Science and Technology
Lower-cost prosthetic designs win ASME award
Students from the University of Massachusetts at Lowell won first place at the American Society of Mechanical Engineers IShow with their prosthetic device design that drastically cuts the cost of mass production. In addition to using lower-cost medical-grade plastics, the team developed multifunctional prostheses that can serve as an arm, elbow, leg or knee. Also versatile is their design for a prosthetic hand, which can accommodate electrical, cable-driven or ratchet-control systems. PRI (5/26)
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N.J. patients test exoskeleton
Cindy Cullinane is one of 13 patients testing a motorized exoskeleton in a three-year program at the Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation in West Orange, N.J. Each patient has 100 sessions with the device, as their progress, as well as changes in muscles and bone mineral density, is tracked. "The hope for the future is that it will allow people back into their homes, back into their communities, and be able to be more independent," said Dr. Steven Kirshblum, medical director of the Kessler Institute. WOFL-TV (Orlando, Fla.) (5/24)
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Medical News
High-birth-weight babies may face increased risk of diabetes
Babies with a birth weight of 9 pounds or more may have increased risk of developing obesity, diabetes and other conditions in their lifetimes, according to a study published in the journal Science News. Researchers reviewed average birth weights over the past 70 years and correlated them with the incidence of certain diseases. DigitalJournal.com (5/26)
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Legislative and Regulatory
States have additional year to offer multiple insurers on small-business marketplace
Work continues on completing the Affordable Care Act's online insurance marketplace for small businesses, which is expected to begin operations Nov. 15 in states that do not have their own marketplaces. However, states will have an additional year before they must offer employees a choice of several plans, an element intended to spur competition and lower costs. The Washington Post (tiered subscription model) (5/23)
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Trend Watch
Fla. college introduces associate degree program in O&P technology
Florida's St. Petersburg College will offer an associate degree in orthotics and prosthetics technology this fall, the only degree of its kind in the state, according to Program Director Arlene Gillis. The school already offers a bachelor's degree in orthotics and prosthetics. "With the current population of prosthetists and orthotists being slightly under 6,000 nationally and many of those are set to retire in the next five years, there'll be a high demand" for orthotic and prosthetic care, she said. Bay News 9 (Tampa-St. Petersburg, Fla.) (5/24)
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Prostheses bring 5-year-old back to active play
Nearly a year after his feet and ankles were amputated, 5-year-old Dawson Henry is back on the playground, thanks to a pair of prostheses fit by Amy Paulios of Prosthetic Laboratories in Monona, Wis. Dawson had a rare condition called purpura fulminans, in which blood vessels clot and kill tissue. Dawson's activity is "much more advanced than we expected at this point," said his mother, Beth Henry. Wisconsin State Journal (Madison) (5/26)
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Teen blade runner inspires Ontario Science Centre bionics exhibit
Runner Marissa Papaconstantinou, 14, of Toronto was the inspiration for an Ontario Science Centre exhibit on 21st-century prosthetics and bionics. Papaconstantinou, who was born without a right foot, has used a running blade since after the sixth grade and is aiming to compete in the 2016 Paralympic Games. "She just was such an inspiration, so it just became really obvious that she should be the focal point of the exhibit," said Mary Jane Conboy, director of science content at the center. CTV.ca (Canada) (5/26)
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Other News
AOPA News
Breaking news from AOPA
The CMS releases the proposed rule on prior authorization for certain prosthetic HCPCS codes -- get the latest news now! AOPA 2014 Assembly registration is OPEN -- 10 reasons to attend and why you should register today! The Boston Coding & Billing Seminar is just around the bend -- sign your staff up for a two-day workshop with the most up-to-date information on coding complex devices, reviewing Medicare policies and learning advanced documentation techniques! Ottobock blogger is honored with the Red Cross Heroes Award -- 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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-- Karl Barth,
Swiss theologian
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