NIH directs $2.4M to ankle exoskeleton research and other robotic projects | Anklebot explores ankle dynamics, aids rehabilitation | Study: Surgery more effective in treating obesity, diabetes
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October 24, 2013
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News for Professionals in the Orthotics, Prosthetics and Pedorthics Profession

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NIH directs $2.4M to ankle exoskeleton research and other robotic projects
Several projects to develop assistive robotic devices for individuals with disabilities were awarded $2.4 from the National Institutes of Health. Among them was a project at North Carolina State University to develop control systems for a robotic ankle exoskeleton that functions like a powered brace to help patients recovering from stroke address coordination and strength issues. (10/23)
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Anklebot explores ankle dynamics, aids rehabilitation
The Anklebot, designed by MIT scientists, measures the complex dynamics of ankle movement to help rehabilitate patients recovering from strokes or other motor disorders. The robot, which is attached to a knee brace that is connected to a custom shoe, is able to reduce its assistance when it senses that users begin to move their ankles independently. Research findings appear in the journal IEEE Transactions on Neural Systems and Rehabilitation Engineering. (10/24)
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Medical News
Study: Surgery more effective in treating obesity, diabetes
Weight-loss surgery such as gastric banding, gastric bypass or sleeve gastrectomy is more effective in treating obesity and type 2 diabetes than diet and exercise, according to a study of almost 800 obese patients published in the British Medical Journal. The study found that, over a two-year period, surgery resulted in increased remission rates for type 2 diabetes and an average of 57 more pounds lost than through diet, exercise, behavioral therapy, medication or other nonsurgical treatments. The Columbus Dispatch (Ohio) (10/24)
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Stroke is affecting more young, middle-aged adults worldwide in past 20 years
Globally, the incidence of strokes among adults aged 20 to 64 has gone up by 25% in the past two decades, and more than 83,000 individuals aged 20 and younger had a stroke every year. Despite a substantial decline in stroke mortality rates across the world, the percentage of first-time stroke patients, stroke survivors, stroke deaths and disability-adjusted life-years lost rose over time. The findings were reported in studies in The Lancet and The Lancet Global Health. MedPage Today (free registration) (10/23), Medscape (free registration) (10/23), Bloomberg Businessweek (10/24)
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Legislative and Regulatory
Deadline to purchase health insurance gets 6-week extension
The Obama administration announced that Americans buying health coverage through online insurance marketplaces will have until March 31 to purchase a plan without incurring penalties, giving them an extra six weeks to do so. The deadline is for signing up, not for the beginning of coverage, officials said. The Washington Post (tiered subscription model) (10/23)
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CMS proposes bundling payments for wound care
A CMS proposal to move from a fee-for-service to a bundled payment model for wound care will increase the use of the most cost-effective products, analysts say. The model may put some expensive cell-based products with unproven clinical benefits at a disadvantage while favoring others, such as spray-on skin products, bioactive gels and nanoparticle powder dressings, analyst Jason Napodano writes. McKnight's Long-Term Care News (10/22), Seeking Alpha (10/21)
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Trend Watch
Amputee graduates from police academy
Jerod Bradford of Cowan, Tenn., who lost part of his left arm and a right-hand finger in an electrical accident, has become the nation’s first upper-limb amputee to graduate from a police academy. "You can succeed in anything, all you have to do is try, don't let anybody tell you otherwise," he said in a television interview in which he talked about some of the improvising he had to do to pass the physical exam. AOL Jobs (10/23)
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Fla. student receives prosthetic arm to play violin
Nine-year-old Keith Neal of Florida, born without a fully developed left arm, has been fitted with a special prosthesis that will allow him to continue practicing the violin in his third-grade music class. His prosthetic arm was designed by Florida O&P Services. WPTV-TV (West Palm Beach. Fla.) (10/24)
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Breaking news from AOPA
A single leg amputee is a new world-record holder in the Ironman Triathlon – get the scoop and support this troop! Be sure to take some time to fill out two surveys regarding RAC unfairness and support the cause to fight RAC unfairness! The Amputee Coalition announces new leadership in its Scientific & Medical Advisory Committee. AOPAversity is hosting an Audio Conference in November on advocacy – take an active role in controlling the future of O&P treatment by registering today! Be sure to take some time to review the Medicare policy on AFOs and KAFOs in this month's O&P Almanac - all of this in today's AOPA Breaking News.
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