Robotic leg brace aids British stroke patient | N.Y. high-school students win bionic-man competition | Researchers identify enzymes critical to wound healing
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December 31, 2013
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Robotic leg brace aids British stroke patient
The advanced robotic leg brace manufactured by AlterG, which triggers movement from electrodes in the insole, is being tested by British patient Sue Sandars, who lost most movement in an arm and leg after a stroke. "It reacts to what I do, almost calibrating how much effort I am doing myself," said Sandars, who is using the leg to build muscle strength and retrain the parts of her brain controlling movement. The Daily Mail (London) (12/27)
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Science and Technology
N.Y. high-school students win bionic-man competition
Five students from Island Trees High School in Levittown, N.Y., took top honors in the national Incredible Bionic Man challenge, sponsored by the Smithsonian Channel and Cablevision, when they constructed an artificial hand and arm from a CPR dummy, a 12-volt motorcycle battery, aluminum and other ordinary household materials. Anton Community Newspapers (Mineola, N.Y.) (12/25)
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Medical News
Researchers identify enzymes critical to wound healing
Scientists at the University of Notre Dame have identified in mouse studies two enzymes -- MMP8 and MMP9 -- that affect wound healing. Administering an MMP8 inhibitor slowed wound healing, while an MMP9 inhibitor sped up the healing process. The school is seeking permission to study human tissue, Notre Dame's Mayland Chang said. WNYT-TV (Albany, N.Y.) (12/30)
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Study: Statins cut amputation and other risks in limb ischemia patients
Patients with critical limb ischemia who take statin drugs may be at lower risk of major amputation, death and major adverse cardiovascular and cerebrovascular events, according to a study in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. Statin therapy also was tied to better amputation-free survival and lower LDL levels. Healio (free registration)/Cardiology Today (12/27)
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Cinnamon may help with blood sugar
Recent studies suggest that consuming cinnamon can help reduce blood sugar by as much as 5%, as well as lower lipid levels. While cinnamon cannot replace medication for those who already have diabetes, it could help those who have prediabetes. Ceylon cinnamon or cinnamon capsules are a safer alternative to the more common cassia cinnamon, which can cause liver toxicity when ingested by people who are sensitive to coumarin. National Public Radio/The Salt blog (12/30)
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Legislative and Regulatory
Tavenner: HealthCare.gov enrolled 975,000 this month
The White House said Sunday that more than 1.1 million people have signed up for Affordable Care Act coverage through HealthCare.gov. CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner said in a blog post that more than 975,000 consumers signed up for a qualified health plan via HealthCare.gov this month. "December enrollment so far is over seven times that of October and November," she said. Politico (Washington, D.C.) (12/30), The Washington Post (tiered subscription model) (12/29), The Hill/Healthwatch blog (12/29)
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Trend Watch
Clinic in Turkey provides artificial legs to Syrian war victims
Technicians at a Turkish clinic near the Syrian border have fitted more than 300 patients with the Jaipur leg, a mass-produced prosthetic limb developed in India. The artificial legs, provided by a U.K. charity, have been improved by adding a knee joint and a flexible ankle. The toll from Syria's civil war remains high, with more than 600 on the clinic's waiting list for prosthetic legs, and thousands more people still in Syria who have been injured. WGBH-TV/WGBH-AM/FM (Boston) (12/27)
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Ore. chef back in kitchen with prosthetic hand
Portland, Ore., chef Eduardo Garcia doesn't have to worry about hot pans or sharp knives, now that he is cooking with a new artificial left hand that he received after losing his hand and part of his arm in a hunting accident. He still has to be careful about picking up heavy objects, however. The latest version of his prosthetic hand, controlled by his forearm, has 25 grip positions. Garcia recently started a food company called Montana Mex and hopes to host a TV cooking show. The Daily Mail (London) (12/30)
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SmartQuote
Never, never rest contented with any circle of ideas, but always be certain that a wider one is still possible."
-- Richard Jefferies,
British writer
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