Boston bombing amputees find help at family-run United Prosthetics | Robot arm that helps patients rehab wins James Dyson award | New research allows monkeys to control 2 hands at once through thought
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November 7, 2013
AOPA In Advance SmartBrief
News for Professionals in the Orthotics, Prosthetics and Pedorthics Profession

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Boston bombing amputees find help at family-run United Prosthetics
Massachusetts-based United Prosthetics has helped eight patients who lost one or both legs in April's Boston Marathon bombing. The family business that was started back in 1914 fabricates carbon fiber sockets and fits prostheses for patients such as Mery Daniel, whose left leg was amputated after the bombing. CBS News (11/6)
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Robot arm that helps patients rehab wins James Dyson award
A mechanical arm designed to help patients with back injuries regain control of their muscles has been singled out for the 2013 James Dyson award. The Titan Arm exoskeleton, developed by a team from the University of Pennsylvania, was created in eight months for about $1,800. The team will share the $48,000 prize. BBC (11/6)
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New research allows monkeys to control 2 hands at once through thought
Researchers at Duke University have developed a system through which monkeys can manipulate two arms simultaneously using their brains, a promising development for amputees and individuals suffering from spinal cord injury. Unlike earlier research that showed a subject controlling the movement of one artificial arm, this research, reported in the journal Science Translational Medicine, involved mind control over two prosthetic limbs. "This is a big step, as two hemispheres of brain are involved in their work," said Nitish Thakor, Johns Hopkins University professor and director of the Singapore Institute for Neurotechnology. Popular Mechanics (11/2013)
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Scientists identify signaling process in wound healing
Scientists studying zebrafish found that sheets of cells around wounds on the fish create a calcium signal that directs cell migration and growth toward the center of the wound. The findings, which might be important in developing new wound-healing treatments, are published in the Journal of Cell Science. Science World Report (10/31)
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Getting few hours of sleep may raise cardiometabolic risk factors
Sleeping fewer than five hours each night was associated with a twofold increased risk of high blood pressure and cholesterol levels as well as a greater likelihood of diabetes and obesity, a study in the journal Sleep Medicine showed. Very short sleep was most prevalent among black people compared with other racial groups, and it appeared to have a strong link to obesity in that group. "Lack of sleep limits your body's ability to keep itself healthy, increasing risk for disease, which puts stress on the body, making sleep harder," lead researcher Michael A. Grandner said. Reuters (11/6)
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Legislative and Regulatory
Tavenner vows to release ACA enrollment data next week
Enrollment numbers for the Affordable Care Act's insurance exchanges will be released next week, CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner promised Tuesday at a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing. The CMS is hoping for approximately 800,000 people to sign up in the exchanges by the end of the month, she said. Slow early enrollment is anticipated for those seeking coverage by Jan. 1, to be followed by huge numbers of young and healthy individuals before the enrollment deadline of March 31, she said. Politico (Washington, D.C.) (11/6), The Hill/Healthwatch blog (11/5)
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CMS updates EHR incentive program FAQs
The CMS has issued two new and two updated frequently asked questions about the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs. The two new FAQs address questions about patient access and secure messaging issues; the two updates provide new information about meaningful use calculations and objectives. EHR Intelligence (11/5)
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Trend Watch
Double amputee is dedicated to finding careers for wounded vets
Dan Berschinski, a bilateral, above-knee amputee who lost his legs in an explosion while serving in Afghanistan, volunteered with the Amputee Coalition and worked as a recruiter for software testing firm Agile Brigade before deciding to start his own business. His firm, Two-Six industries, is small now, but he hopes to expand to provide jobs for wounded veterans. "I want to run a good company that can provide jobs with smart, driven individuals. And I think the veteran population is perfect for that," he said. CBS News (11/7)
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Business and Finance
Tax overhaul might cost small businesses valuable deductions
Efforts to overhaul the U.S. tax code could take a toll on small firms, according to a study sponsored by the Small Business Administration Office of Advocacy. At risk are valuable deductions that might not be counterbalanced by reduced rates, some businesses point out. The Wall Street Journal (tiered subscription model)/Washington Wire blog (11/6)
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Breaking news from AOPA
The 2014 AOPAversity audio conference topics and dates have been announced – sign up and mark your calendars! Speaking of 2014, it’s time to fix your sights on the AOPA National Assembly in Las Vegas – win big at the place to be! CMS announces a new date for PECOS implementation and FitBionic rebrands – don’t miss it! AOPAversity is hosting an audio conference in November on advocacy – take an active role in controlling the future of O&P treatment by registering today! All of this in today’s AOPA Breaking News.
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Upcoming events
Nov. 13: Advocacy: A Potent Weapon for Change (Telephone audio conference)
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Dec. 11: What's on the Horizon: New Codes for 2014 (Telephone audio conference)
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