Researchers enhance functionality of mind-controlled robotic limb | Double amputee uses thoughts to control 2 artificial arms at the same time | Study: Type 2 diabetes risk higher in certain blood groups
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December 18, 2014
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News for Professionals in the Orthotics, Prosthetics and Pedorthics Profession

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Researchers enhance functionality of mind-controlled robotic limb
Jan Scheuermann, a 55-year-old quadriplegic, has completed a two-year, DARPA-funded study at the University of Pittsburgh of a mind-controlled robotic arm, increasing the functionality of the arm by adding four hand movements. Scheuermann had two electrode grids containing 96 contact points each implanted in the areas of her brain that control movements of the right arm and hand. The points pick up signals from neurons and relay them to a computer, which moves the arm. Engadget (12/17), The Times of India (12/18)
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Double amputee uses thoughts to control 2 artificial arms at the same time
Double amputee Les Baugh is the first to simultaneously control two prosthetic arms with his mind. He underwent targeted muscle reinnervation surgery to reassign nerves and connect them with the prosthetic arms through custom sockets. "What really was amazing ... was his ability to control a combination of motions across both arms at the same time," said Courtney Moran, a prosthetist at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory. CNET (12/17)
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Medical News
Study: Type 2 diabetes risk higher in certain blood groups
French scientists have found that people whose blood is in the type A, B and AB blood groups are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than those in the O group. The study of more than 80,000 women also found that the highest risk was faced by those with type B positive blood, who are 35% more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than those with type O negative blood. The Times of India (12/18)
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Ultraviolet light aids blood vessel growth, study finds
A study in the journal Nature Materials has found that ultraviolet light could help blood vessels grow. In an experiment in mice, researchers implanted hydrogel underneath the skin, coupled with the peptide RGD, which signals cells to attach and grow on new tissues, and vascular endothelial growth factor, which stimulates the growth of blood vessels. When exposed to UV light, the samples formed networks of blood vessels, allowing the mouse's blood supply to send blood through the hydrogel. The technology could be used to monitor glucose internally in diabetes patients, according to experts. (12/16)
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Trial demonstrates benefits of mechanical removal of clots from brain
A study in The New England Journal of Medicine has found that the use of a new stent to remove blockages in arteries of the brain outperformed clot-busting drugs for stroke patients. The 500-patient Dutch study compared mechanical removal against tissue plasminogen activator, which performs better against small clots than large blockages. Reuters (12/17), The New York Times (tiered subscription model) (12/18)
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Legislative and Regulatory
Health plan enrollment reaches nearly 2.5M
HHS announced Tuesday that nearly 2.5 million people in 36 states have signed up for health insurance via from the beginning of open enrollment on Nov. 15 through the week ending Dec. 12. Officials said 1.28 million of those who signed up renewed plans they bought for this year. Reuters (12/16)
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Trend Watch
Novel 3D-printed prostheses enable dog to run
Derby, a husky-mix dog born with deformed front legs, is now able to run using curved prostheses made with a 3D printer. Engadget (12/18)
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Business and Finance
A small-business checklist for the end of 2014
Talk to your accountant before the end of the year to figure out how best to manage your tax bill, advises Dawn Fotopulos, founder of In addition, prepare for 2015 by sending reminders to clients who have yet to pay, saving up some cash and making copies of electronic files. Entrepreneur online (12/15)
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Using retirement plans for recruitment, retention
Nearly three-quarters of businesses with between 10 and 99 employees provide retirement plans, research suggests. If you already offer a retirement plan, you can make it more appealing by educating your workers and allowing part-time employees to enroll, writes GrowBiz Media CEO Rieva Lesonsky. SCORE Small Business Success Blog (12/16)
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Breaking news from AOPA
Do you know all the ways to participate in Mobility Saves? Learn more here. Off-the-shelf orthotics are not included in the competitive bidding recompete. Learn about AOPA's efforts to stop competitive bidding. Good news: $10 million for O&P outcomes research is included in the Cromnibus bill! RAC concerns also are addressed in the bill. The AOPA Coding & Billing experts are coming to Savannah, Ga., on Feb. 9-10! Register now. Sign up for the 2015 AOPA webinars and get two free! All this and more in today's AOPA Breaking News!
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Upcoming events
Jan. 14: Fill In the Blanks: VA Contracting and the New Template, webinar conference. Learn more or register online.
Feb. 9-10: Mastering Medicare: Essential Coding & Billing Seminar, Savannah, Ga. Learn more or register online.
Feb. 11: Find Success: Tips, Strategies and Understanding the Appeals Process, webinar conference. Learn more or register online
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It's the steady, quiet, plodding ones who win in the lifelong race."
-- Robert Service,
British-Canadian poet
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