Developing a smart bionic leg that anticipates movement | Study: Ankle brace more effective against second sprains than neuromuscular training | Texas students develop inexpensive hand prosthesis
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January 28, 2014
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News for Professionals in the Orthotics, Prosthetics and Pedorthics Profession

Top Story
Developing a smart bionic leg that anticipates movement
North Carolina researchers are testing a prototype artificial leg that employs a combination of sensors on the skin and motion and force sensors capable of anticipating the user's next movements, whether stepping over an object, climbing stairs or walking backward. "The limitation of current prosthetic devices is that they don't know what the next step should be," said Helen Huang, associate professor of biomedical engineering at North Carolina State University and University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. The research is being supported by a $1.2 million grant from the National Science Foundation. The News & Observer (Raleigh, N.C.) (1/26)
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Science and Technology
Study: Ankle brace more effective against second sprains than neuromuscular training
Wearing an ankle brace appears to be more effective than neuromuscular training in preventing a second similar sprain, according to a study of 380 adult athletes conducted by researchers in the Netherlands. Only 15% of those with the brace suffered a recurrence within a year compared with 27% who did not wear a brace. The study focused only on preventing secondary injury, noted senior author Evert A.L.M. Verhagen, and did not measure pain levels, instability or performance. Reuters (1/24)
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Texas students develop inexpensive hand prosthesis
Four students from West Texas A&M University have built a mechanical prosthetic hand using bungee cords, fishing line and a 3D printer. The device, specifically designed to allow the user to pick up objects easily, was initially developed for a 10-year-old girl born with a partial hand. It will join the library of specialized prosthetic devices at the Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children in Dallas. The hand costs about $15 and can be made wherever a 3D printer is available. Amarillo Globe-News (Texas) (1/26)
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Medical News
Clubfoot treatment employs specialized orthotic boots
Thanks in part to an Internet-based campaign, the non-invasive Ponseti method, developed in the 1950s, has become the standard of care for treating clubfoot instead of surgery. Following a series of full-leg casts and the clip of a single tendon, the affected child sleeps at night with a pair of special orthotic boots connected by a rod. When used correctly, the Ponseti method can prevent invasive surgery in 97% of children born with clubfoot. Kaiser Health News (1/27)
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Blood test can be used early to detect diabetes risk
Israeli scientists found that early use of a blood test designed to diagnose type 2 diabetes can identify those at risk of developing the disease. "Our study supports the idea that the A1c test ... can also be used at a much earlier stage to screen for the disease in the high risk population, like overweight patients," said Dr. Nataly Lerner, of Tel Aviv University's Sackler Faculty of Medicine. The study was published in the European Journal of General Practice. United Press International (1/28), NewKerala.com (India)/Asian News International (1/28)
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Legislative and Regulatory
Tavenner: ACA sign-ups reach 3 million
The White House announced Friday that 3 million people have enrolled in private insurance coverage through the Affordable Care Act's marketplaces. "As our outreach efforts kick into even higher gear, we anticipate these numbers will continue to grow, particularly as we reach even more uninsured young adults, so that they know that new options and new ways to help eligible individuals pay for their premium are now available," CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner said in a blog post. Politico (Washington, D.C.) (1/24), The Washington Post (tiered subscription model) (1/24), Reuters (1/24)
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Trend Watch
For athlete Jozef Metelka, another day, another leg
Working with Britain's Pace Rehabilitation, Jozef Metelka has built a collection of 12 specialized prosthetic legs for activities that range from running, mountain biking and snowboarding to road racing. Each leg -- using materials such as titanium, carbon fibers and silicone -- must balance factors of weight and durability with such extreme conditions as mud, water and ice. "You can't do everything to the high level as a regular leg can," says Metelka. But, he adds, "[W]e are on the verge of building prosthetics that can outcompete natural limbs." The Standard (Kenya) (1/27)
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Paralympic torch to begin journey to Sochi, Russia, on Feb. 26
The Paralympic torch will begin its journey on Feb. 26 in Vladivostok, passing through 46 cities and arriving in Sochi, Russia, on March 7. More than 1,500 people will take part in the torch relay, and at least 300 people with disabilities will be among the torch bearers. The Paralympic Games will be held March 7-16. The Moscow Times (1/27)
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Breast cancer boutique opens in Mont. medical center
Eva's Boutique, located in the Yellowstone Breast Center, which is part of the Yellowstone Medical Center West, offers breast prostheses and other products for women who have undergone mastectomies. "When I see patients get fitted, their whole demeanor changes," said Ella Dugan-Laemmle, a breast health navigator at St. Vincent Healthcare, which provided funding for the boutique. "They smile with tears running down their face. They just feel complete." Star-Tribune (Casper, Wyo.) (tiered subscription model) (1/27)
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AOPA News
Breaking news from AOPA
AOPA's Coding & Billing Seminar visits New Orleans in February. Don't miss out -- register today! DME MACs acknowledge incorrect PECOS denials, will reprocess affected claims -- get the scoop! AOPA's 2014 Quick Coders are available in the bookstore. With vast changes to the 2014 Medicare codes, don't be left out in the cold -- get yours today! Ottobock moves its base of North American operations -- read all about it. All of this and more in today's AOPA Breaking News.
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Upcoming events
Feb. 10-11: Mastering Medicare: Essential Coding and Billing Techniques Seminar, New Orleans
Learn more or register online.
Feb. 12:
Billing for Diabetic & Orthopedic Shoes, Mastectomy Services, and Surgical Dressings (Telephone audio conference) Learn more or register online.
March 12: The ABC's of Audits: What to Expect and How to Respond (Telephone audio conference)
Learn more or register online.
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SmartQuote
A person often meets his destiny on the road he took to avoid it."
-- Jean de la Fontaine,
French writer and poet
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