Soft ankle-foot orthosis uses structure of natural leg | Marine receives prosthetic hand with implanted sensors | Study of monkeys' brain activity may lead to improved prostheses
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January 23, 2014
AOPA In Advance SmartBrief
News for Professionals in the Orthotics, Prosthetics and Pedorthics Profession

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Soft ankle-foot orthosis uses structure of natural leg
A new soft orthotic device, based on the muscle-ligament structure of the leg, employs four pneumatic artificial muscles capable of both dorsiflexion and plantarflexion as well as ankle inversion and eversion. The tubes connect to a skinlike sock and various sensors. The AFO was developed by Yong-Lae Park of Carnegie Mellon University, along with colleagues from Harvard University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of Southern California, as well as wearable-sensor company BioSensics. (1/22)
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Science and Technology
Marine receives prosthetic hand with implanted sensors
A Marine staff sergeant, James Sides, who lost his right hand due to an explosion while serving in Afghanistan, was the first person to be fitted with a prosthesis featuring the implantable myoelectric sensor system, in which electrodes are placed into arm muscles below the skin. The system provides greater, more fluid control than previous versions with sensors attached to the skin surface. Implantable electrodes are "more reliable, they have stronger signals generated from the muscle within, we can get more muscles, deeper muscles and they are more intuitive," said Paul Pasquina, principal investigator of the system. (1/20)
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Study of monkeys' brain activity may lead to improved prostheses
In research published in the journal Neuron, scientists measured neuron activity in the brains of monkeys making planned and unplanned motions to reach out and touch a screen target. Researchers found that neurons reacted differently when the monkeys anticipated touching the targets than when they did not. "[T]hese new findings will lead to better brain-controlled prosthetic arms and communication systems for people with paralysis," said Stanford University professor Krishna Shenoy. (1/22)
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Other News
Medical News
Ultrasound could help restore sensation to feet
Experiments show that ultrasound can stimulate the sensory nervous system and even activate specific sets of nerve fibers, according to research at Virginia Tech published in the journal Nature Neuroscience. "Ultrasound transducers could be fashioned into flexible, flat insoles to provide sensory stimulation to people who have lost sensation in their feet,” said study author William Tyler. RTT News (1/22)
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Specialists give insights on treating pressure ulcers of the foot
The first step in selecting an offloading device for lower-extremity pressure ulcers is to determine the source of the ulcer by assessing the patient's gait, any structural deformities and footwear, podiatrists and certified wound specialists say. They also say the wounds should be documented in a "complete, accurate and legally defensible" manner, including taking consistent photographs. Podiatry Today magazine (1/2014)
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Study links Mediterranean diet to lower PAD risk
Older Spanish adults with diabetes or a combination of other heart disease risk factors who adopted a Mediterranean-style diet had a lower risk of developing peripheral artery disease than did those who followed a standard low-fat regimen, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. The risk was 64% lower among those who followed a Mediterranean diet supplemented with extra-virgin olive oil, and 50% lower among those who adopted the diet with extra nuts. Reuters (1/21), HealthDay News (1/21)
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Legislative and Regulatory
Group calls on HHS to modify process for RAC appeals
The American Coalition for Healthcare Claims Integrity has asked HHS to make changes to the appeals process for payment denials in the Medicare RAC program. The group also suggested that the CMS carry out long-term process reforms to help judges more effectively manage appeals. (1/22)
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  • For more:
    AOPA's website has detailed information about RAC audits by jurisdiction, collection data and appeals, as well as a history of AOPA's actions on the subject. Learn more on the AOPA website.
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Trend Watch
Waterproof Aqualeg prosthesis cover is available in U.S.
The innovative Aqualeg, which drains water from vents in the ankle, was developed in France and is now being distributed in this country through its U.S. headquarters in Rock Hill, S.C. Along with vents, the soft, natural-looking Aqualeg is made of several layers of silicone and elastic fabric and comes in a variety of skin colors. The French company has also partnered with a Rock Hill patient-care facility, the Prosthetic & Orthotic Institute, to fit the Aqualeg on patients. The Herald (Rock Hill, S.C.) (1/21)
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Civil War historian tells story of Hanger founder
Civil War historian Bob O'Connor has written a biography of James E. Hanger, who lost his leg in a battle in 1861 and invented a new type of prosthesis to replace his leg. Hanger's prosthesis hinged at the knee and ankle and replaced the peg leg that was previously the most common option then for leg amputees. He later founded J.E. Hanger Co. to manufacture the device. Hanger now has 740 clinics and more than 4,300 employees. "Hanger was the Henry Ford of his time," O'Connor said. The Herald-Mail (Hagerstown, Md.) (1/21)
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Other News
Breaking news from AOPA
2014 AOPA Quick Coders are available in the bookstore! With vast changes to the 2014 Medicare codes, don't be left out in the cold -- get yours today! Are you using all of your AOPA member benefits? AOPA's partnership with Bank of America could reduce your credit card processing rates; check your savings now! AOPA's government affairs representatives are available to speak at your meetings. If you have a state or regional meeting coming up soon, schedule now! Congress approves new funding for O&P outcomes research pushed by AOPA -- read all about it! All of this and more in today's AOPA Breaking News.
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Upcoming events
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March 12: The ABC's of Audits: What to Expect and How to Respond (Telephone audio conference)
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