DARPA targets proprioception in HAPTIX program | Banana-peel research could have applications in prostheses | Scientists may improve neural prosthetics with new EES system
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September 25, 2014
AOPA In Advance SmartBrief
News for Professionals in the Orthotics, Prosthetics and Pedorthics Profession

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DARPA targets proprioception in HAPTIX program
A new program at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency called Hand Proprioception and Touch Interfaces, or HAPTIX, aims to give proprioception -- the sense of knowing where one's body parts are positioned -- to amputees with arm prostheses. HAPTIX would provide sensory feedback between the brain and nervous system, allowing amputees to have greater control over their prosthetic devices, which would "make a profound, positive psychological impact," according to DARPA Program Manager Doug Weber. Signal Magazine online (9/24)
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ATTENTION: Pediatric Orthotists, Physical Therapists & PTAs
SureStep presents a continuing education course: Stability in Motion, Functional Solutions for the Hypotonic Gait. All courses are completely free of charge and include dinner and CEUs. For more details and a list of course locations, visit our website.
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Banana-peel research could have applications in prostheses
Recent research by Japanese physicists into why banana peels are so slippery could have implications for improving artificial limbs, Erin Brodwin writes. By creating an artificial substance with qualities similar to bananas' slippery gel, scientists could create more flexible joints for prostheses. Business Insider (9/24)
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Scientists may improve neural prosthetics with new EES system
In an animal study published in the journal Science Translational Medicine, researchers were able to create an epidural electrical stimulation system that automatically adjusts the electrical pulses it delivers. This gave rats the ability to better control their walking, which could improve robot-assisted rehabilitation for patients with spinal cord damage. PopularMechanics.com (9/24), International Business Times (9/24)
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Students build 3D-printed exoskeleton for cerebral palsy patients
Working with the group Not Impossible Now, members of a high-school robotics club in Granada Hills, Calif., created a 3D-printed exoskeleton gait trainer for cerebral palsy patients called the Robot Walker. 3DPrint.com (9/24)
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Medical News
U.S. sees decline in new diabetes cases, CDC finds
CDC officials found the number of new diabetes cases in the U.S. declined to 7.1 per 1,000 people in 2012, following an increase from 3.2 per 1,000 people in 1990 to 8.8 per 1,000 people in 2008. However, researchers noted a persistent increase among Hispanics, blacks and those with lower education levels. The findings were published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Reuters (9/23)
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Work type, duration may influence diabetes risk
People who spent more than 55 hours per week at manual or "low socioeconomic status" jobs had a 30% increased risk of diabetes than those who worked 35 to 40 hours per week, according to a study in The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology. HealthDay News (9/25)
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Little progress in new treatments for diabetic foot ulcers
A review published in the journal Advances in Therapy found that progress has been stagnant in developing new treatments for diabetic foot ulcers. Amputation is needed in about 1 in 4 patients with diabetic ulcers, according to Aristidis Veves, lead author of the review and a professor at Harvard Medical School. "The number of cases of foot ulcerations and amputations has been the same over the past 10 to 15 years," Veves said. Medscape (free registration) (9/24)
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U.K. study ties increasing skirt size to risk for breast cancer
A study in BMJ Open found that having the same skirt size through the years could lessen the chances of breast cancer. After analyzing data from almost 93,000 women in U.K., researchers found that a 77% increased breast cancer risk was associated with going up two skirt sizes every 10 years after age 25. HealthDay News (9/24)
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Legislative and Regulatory
CMS simplifies insurance applications on HealthCare.gov
About 70% of first-time applicants for health insurance using the federally run website will have to go through fewer screens, make fewer clicks and answer fewer questions than last season's applicants, CMS principal deputy administrator Andrew Slavitt said. Consumers with uncomplicated household situations will be able to use the streamlined process. The New York Times (tiered subscription model) (9/23)
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Breaking news from AOPA
The Canadian Medical Association Journal publishes research on better patient care coordination leading to reduced healthcare use -- check it out today! Participate in the O&P Campaign of the Year, Mobility Saves -- get involved and spread the good word! Get your AOPA Insurance Program Quote with Cailor Fleming Insurance. Sign up for the October Webinar Conference, Medicare Enrollment, Revalidationn, and Participation, to get your monthly business CE's. In O&P Memory: Becky Porter-Spiares passed away this month and the BCP Group acquires Baker Orthotics & Prosthetics -- all of this and more in today's AOPA Breaking News.
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Upcoming events
Oct. 8: Medicare Enrollment, Revalidation, and Participation, webinar conference Learn more or register online.
Oct. 20-21:
Mastering Medicare: Coding & Billing Seminar, St. Louis, Mo. Learn more or register online.
Nov. 12: Gifts: Showing Appreciation without Violating the Law, webinar conference Learn more or register online.
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How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant of the weak and strong. Because someday in your life you will have been all of these."
-- George Washington Carver,
American scientist and inventor
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