German scientists develop advanced prosthetic hand | Functional electrical stimulation system helps correct foot drop | Germany and New Zealand collaborate on exoskeleton
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November 18, 2014
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German scientists develop advanced prosthetic hand
Scientists at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology are developing a prosthetic hand with six small motors controlled through nerve impulses in the residual limb. Users can produce 12 different hand movements. Future goals for the hand are to develop the ability for more complex movements and give the hand a sense of touch. Deutsche Welle (Germany) (11/15)
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Science and Technology
Functional electrical stimulation system helps correct foot drop
A British stroke victim with foot drop has become one of the first in the U.K. to use a functional electrical stimulation system developed by Ottobock. The MyGait stimulates the nervous system, supporting knee movement and allowing the patient to lift his foot to improve gait. Northamptonshire Telegraph (U.K.) (11/18)
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Germany and New Zealand collaborate on exoskeleton
Scientists in New Zealand and Germany are working together to develop an exoskeleton designed to help stroke patients and workers who do manual labor or have repetitive duties. The device will incorporate wearable sensor technology developed at the University of Auckland and movement mechanisms from the Fraunhofer research group in Stuttgart. (11/14)
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Medical News
Study looks at how brain adjusts sense of touch in patients with hand transplants
The sensation of touch improves gradually over years in patients who have had a hand transplant, shedding light on the brain's ability to adapt, according to a small study whose findings were presented at a meeting of the Society for Neuroscience. "It holds open the hope that we may be able to facilitate that recovery process," said cognitive neuroscientist Scott Frey. Researchers hope that understanding how the brain learns to adapt can be applied to rehabilitation efforts for stroke, brain injury or spinal cord injury patients. The Associated Press (11/16)
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Legislative and Regulatory
Medicare appeals reach new heights
More than 900,000 Medicare appeals are backlogged, according to Kim Brummett, senior director of regulatory affairs for AAHomecare, and that number has almost tripled since December. She noted that providers have two options: participating in a pilot program that negotiates settlements with the CMS or taking part in a statistical sampling approach that bases payment on a random sample of claims. HME News (11/14)
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ACA enrollment period opens with minor snags
About 100,000 people applied for a health insurance plan through the federally run exchange on the first day of open enrollment, HHS Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell said. Washington state's exchange was taken offline temporarily because it was reporting incorrect tax credit data, and California officials reported unspecified problems. Hawaii, Maryland and Massachusetts reported no problems. Bloomberg (11/17), Kaiser Health News (11/17), The New York Times (tiered subscription model) (11/17)
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Trend Watch
Woman who lost leg in Boston Marathon bombing runs 5K
Boston Marathon bombing survivor Roseann Sdoia, who lost her right leg above the knee in the attack, competed in a 5K race after training for months with amputee Jothy Rosenberg, who founded the Who Says I Can't Foundation. WCVB-TV (Boston) (11/16)
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Other News
Business and Finance
Retirement planning challenges small-business owners
Many small-business owners intend to finance retirement by selling the business, which experts say can be a risky strategy. A study suggests a disconnect between owners' retirement aspirations and preparations. (11/12)
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Breaking news from AOPA
Prosthetists: Help UTSA engineering students design a prosthetic foot by completing a survey. Announcing two AOPA Mastering Medicare: Essential Coding and Billing Seminars of 2015 -- in Savannah and Philadelphia! Get the details inside. Check out the new leadership roster at ABC for 2015. Medicare saved more than $4 million by providing O&P care last week! Read about how we calculated that amount. Call for Papers: Become a presenter at the 2015 AOPA National Assembly. And exhibit space is now available! Register for the Dec. 10 AOPA webinar on the new codes for 2015. All this and more in today's AOPA Breaking News!
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Upcoming events
Dec. 10: New Codes & Changes for 2015, webinar conference Learn more and register online.
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 and register online.
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When nothing seems to help, I go look at a stone-cutter hammering away at his rock perhaps a hundred times without as much as a crack showing in it. Yet at the hundred and first blow it will split in two, and I know it was not that blow that did it, but all that had gone before."
-- Jacob Riis,
Danish-American social reformer
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