Fla. boy receives first 3D-printed myoelectric arm | Advanced prostheses enable former Marine to compete in marathons | New optical sensor detects diabetic neuropathy
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July 29, 2014
AOPA In Advance SmartBrief
News for Professionals in the Orthotics, Prosthetics and Pedorthics Profession

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Fla. boy receives first 3D-printed myoelectric arm
University of Central Florida engineering student Albert Manero has fabricated the first 3D-printed myoelectric prosthetic arm, which he developed for a 6-year-old boy missing his right arm from above the elbow. Manero worked through the e-NABLE organization, which provides open-source designs for 3D-printed prostheses, and says he will upload his designs to Thingiverse so others will have free access. 3DPrint.com (7/26)
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Advanced prostheses enable former Marine to compete in marathons
Retired Marine Corps Capt. John O'Brien, who lost his left leg below the knee and left arm below the elbow in 1993, has competed in two Marine Corps marathons, thanks to advanced prostheses designed by Prosthetic Innovations in Pennsylvania. The company focuses on designing prostheses for specific activities and developing well-fitting sockets. "Better sockets make them more comfortable for amputees, and they make the patients confident that the prosthetics will support them and function as they should," said company founder Tim Rayer. Main Line Today (Newtown Square, Pa.) (8/1)
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Medical News
New optical sensor detects diabetic neuropathy
Taiwanese researchers have developed an optical sensor designed to detect diabetic autonomic neuropathy by evaluating eye activity for 30 minutes. The tool works by emitting light from four color LEDs into the eye and examining the pupil and related parameters. MedGadget.com (7/28)
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Nigeria closes in on polio eradication
Despite violence and a rebel group that has targeted vaccination workers, Nigeria reported the lowest number of polio cases ever and could have no cases next year, Bill Gates said. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is funding a global initiative to eradicate polio. Reuters (7/24)
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Review supports low-carb diet as primary diabetes intervention
A critical review published in Nutrition Journal recommends a low-carb diet as the primary intervention in patients with type 1 or type 2 diabetes. The analysis also contests the use of total and LDL cholesterol measurement in evaluating cardiovascular health in patients as other factors appeared to be stronger markers. Diabetes.co.uk (U.K.) (7/18)
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Reduced risk of obesity and diabetes associated with brown fat
Brown fat, which is found in the neck and back of adults, is associated with a lowered risk of diabetes and obesity, according to a study at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston. Researchers “showed that exposure to mild cold raised whole body energy expenditure, increased glucose [blood sugar] removal from the circulation and improved insulin sensitivity in men who have significant amounts of brown [fat]," said Labros Sidossis, a UT professor. CBS News (7/28)
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Legislative and Regulatory
Slowing health costs strengthen Medicare
Because of a slower rise in health care costs that could be due in part to the Affordable Care Act, Medicare will stay solvent four more years than expected, until 2030, according to the latest report of the trustees for Medicare and Social Security. The Social Security disability trust fund, however, is forecast to run out of money by 2016 without congressional action. Financial Times (tiered subscription model) (7/28)
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Trend Watch
European sports commission to rule on eligibility of amputee long jumper
The European Athletics Association will decide whether Paralympic gold medalist Markus Rehm may participate in the European Championships using his prosthetic leg. The below-knee amputee broke the world record with a long jump of 8.24 meters at the Ulm German Athletics Championship on Saturday. "I think [the prosthesis] doesn't give me an advantage or a disadvantage. The prosthetic is replacing what I don't have anymore," said Rehm. Deutsche Welle (Germany) (7/27)
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Double amputee helps others adjust to new prostheses
Dwight Johnson lost one leg below the knee to a staph infection in his foot and then lost the other when he was struck by a bus. The father of seven is now wearing two prosthetic legs fitted by Tom Nomura, clinic manager at Hanger in Newport Beach, Calif. Johnson and his wife have become active with Amputee Empowerment Partners, which helps new amputees adjust. KCBS-TV/KCAL-TV (Los Angeles) (7/28)
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Business and Finance
Succession plans are especially important in family businesses
Small-business owners face particular challenges when retiring, according to experts, particularly when they want their children to assume control. "One of the first questions you have to ask yourself is, 'Do I have financial security if my kids run this business into the ground?' " says consultant Kelly LeCouvie. She stresses the importance of planning as far in advance as possible to allow for a smooth transition. One common piece of expert advice is to set a firm date for the parent's retirement, to avoid confusion about who is in charge. The New York Times (tiered subscription model) (7/25)
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Breaking news from AOPA
"This Just In" is a new AOPA National Assembly session you can’t afford to miss, a session so important that for the first time ever AOPA will repeat it during the conference -- get registered today and stay on top of the profession! AOPA members and patients sent a strong message on Prior Authorization to the CMS -- thank you to all who participated in the effort! The 2015 Medicare O&P Fee Schedule Update has been released -- get the latest! Ottobock appoints a new U.S. business development manager in orthotics, and OPERF receives a major donation from ABC -- all of this and more in today’s AOPA breaking news.
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Upcoming events
Aug. 13: AFO/KAFO Policy: Understanding the Rules, Webinar conference Learn more or register online.
Sept. 4-7: AOPA 2014 National Assembly, Las Vegas, Nev. Learn more or register online.
Oct. 20-21: Mastering Medicare: Coding & Billing Seminar, St. Louis, Mo. Learn more or register online.
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-- Lyndon B. Johnson,
36th U.S. president
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