Research into the science of walking could aid prosthetic development | Texas facility testing ReWalk robotic exoskeleton | Advanced knee gives Calif. worker the physical career he craves
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January 21, 2014
AOPA In Advance SmartBrief
News for Professionals in the Orthotics, Prosthetics and Pedorthics Profession

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Research into the science of walking could aid prosthetic development
Researchers at Oregon State University have identified how the ankle, knee, muscles and tendons interact to allow the leg to move forward efficiently, and they believe they now understand how the leg pushes off from the ground. Investigation into the exact ways humans walk and run could provide insight into development of advanced prosthetic limbs, they said. The study was published in The Journal of Experimental Biology. Yahoo/Asian News International (1/19)
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Science and Technology
Texas facility testing ReWalk robotic exoskeleton
A man who is a paraplegic has become the first patient in central Texas to use the ReWalk rehabilitation system in a clinical trial. The 44-pound motor-driven device reads Joe Fischer's balance shifts and moves his legs in a natural gait. "When you are stimulating muscles and bones ... you can stimulate some of the nerve pathways that can provide some improvement," said Juan Latorre, medical director of spinal cord injury and amputee programs at St. David's Rehabilitation Hospital in Austin. KVUE-TV (Austin, Texas) (1/20)
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Advanced knee gives Calif. worker the physical career he craves
When Folsom, Calif., resident Jonathan Bik lost his leg nine years ago, he was first fitted with a C-Leg. He recently moved to Ottobock's latest prosthetic knee, which allows him to perform demanding physical labor for his job with the Sacramento Municipal Utility District, such as jumping into manholes and walking backward to unspool cable. "The Genium knee has positional awareness ... it adjusts the hydraulic resistance of the knee based on what you're doing," said Bryan Hayes of River City Prosthetics & Orthotics, who fitted Bik with the prosthesis. "It also allows you to go up and down stairs and ramps very easily." Merced Sun-Star (Calif.)/The Sacramento Bee (Calif.) (1/19)
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Other News
Medical News
Study: Chinese herbal medicine helps control onset of type 2 diabetes
Patients with prediabetes who took a combination of traditional Chinese herbal medicines were 32% less likely to acquire type 2 diabetes than those given a placebo, according to a study of 389 people in China. The trial was reported in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism. Subjects took the herbs three times a day before meals. "Traditional Chinese herbs may offer a new option for managing blood sugar levels, either alone or in combination with other treatments," said the University of Chicago's Dr. Chun-Su Yuan, an author of the study. (U.K.) (1/17)
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Google begins testing of "smart contact lens" for diabetes patients
Google announced Thursday that it is testing a prototype of its "smart contact lens" designed to provide readings of glucose levels in the tears. The lens, equipped with an antenna and tiny chips, has the potential to replace the finger prick test in diabetes patients, the company said. Reuters (1/17)
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Legislative and Regulatory
More people sign up as Medicaid coverage expands under ACA
Enrollment in Medicaid has spiked in many states. Studies have found that previously uninsured individuals constitute the majority of people getting coverage under expanded Medicaid eligibility. However, it remains unclear how Medicaid coverage will work once the system adds millions more people across the nation. The New York Times (tiered subscription model) (1/21)
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Trend Watch
Film explores meaning of disability in technological age
With advanced prosthetic technologies, what does it mean to be disabled today? That’s the question Regan Brashear asks in her new film "Fixed: The Science/Fiction of Human Enhancement." The film, which includes an interview with bionics engineer Hugh Herr, looks at developments from advanced artificial limbs to the question of prenatal screening to eliminate unwanted traits. "We're always in a process of co-evolving with our technologies," said Brashear. FastCoExist (1/17)
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Business and Finance
Touch Bionics sees boost in sales, profitability with prosthetic hand
Scotland-based Touch Bionics, developer of the i-limb advanced prosthetic hand, expects to post a profit for 2013 following a sales increase of 23% last year. Sales were boosted by the launch of the company's i-limb ultra revolution prosthetic hand, as well as two mobile applications that wearers can use to control the limb. The company's artificial hand was recently featured in a music video by and Britney Spears. The Scotsman (Edinburgh) (1/20)
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Breaking news from AOPA
Congress approves new funding for O&P outcomes research pushed by AOPA -- read all about it! AOPA's first 2014 Coding & Billing Seminar is going to New Orleans this February. Get the latest information on medical policies, documentation and compliance -- register your staff today! Don't miss out on your opportunity to be a speaker at "The Place to Be" -- the AOPA 2014 Las Vegas Assembly. PECOS enforcement is in effect -- read the announcement here! Congratulations to the new clinicians appointed to Hanger Clinic patient care facilities. 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
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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)
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