Perception experiments may aid treatment of stroke and phantom limb pain | NSF grant will explore brain-prosthesis interface | Advanced ankle orthosis gives power boost
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September 24, 2013
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News for Professionals in the Orthotics, Prosthetics and Pedorthics Profession

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Perception experiments may aid treatment of stroke and phantom limb pain
An Australian study of body perception convinced test subjects that fake plastic fingers were real after the individuals had their actual fingers numbed and blocked from view. Researchers from Neuroscience Research Australia said that the experiments, which relied on muscle receptors inside the arm, could help stroke victims and those suffering from phantom limb pain. The findings were published in the Journal of Physiology. The Australian (tiered subscription model) (9/24)
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Science and Technology
NSF grant will explore brain-prosthesis interface
The National Science Foundation has awarded $1.2 million to researchers at North Carolina State University and the University of Houston for the study of how to connect prosthetic limbs with the brains of amputees. "Our goal is to ... lay the groundwork for a new generation of prosthetic devices and improve our understanding of how brain signals and neuromuscular signals are coordinated," said Helen Huang, associate professor of biomedical engineering at N.C. State and the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. American City Business Journals/Raleigh/Durham, N.C. (9/24)
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Advanced ankle orthosis gives power boost
Yaskawa Electric has developed a robotic ankle orthosis, the ankle-assist walking device, that employs a boot and brace connected to a battery pack worn around the waist. The system, designed to help the elderly remain active, provides a small amount of boost power each time the wearer's heel hits the ground. Ubergizmo.com (9/22)
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Medical News
Psoriasis drug offers treatment potential for type 1 diabetes
The psoriasis drug alefacept was able to help the body produce its own insulin in a study of 49 patients with type 1 diabetes conducted by Indiana University and the Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis. Researchers identified alefacept because it targets the same specific T cells that attack insulin-producing cells in the pancreas of type 1 diabetes patients. Medical News Today (9/23)
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U.K. issues polio travel warning for Israel
Echoing a similar announcement by the World Health Organization in July, Britain has warned all travelers to Israel and the West Bank to ensure their polio vaccinations are up to date. Authorities have identified the polio virus in the sewage of both Israel and the Palestinian Authority. Israeli health authorities have vaccinated more than 240,000 children since last month; no cases of polio have been reported. The Times of Israel (9/23)
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Legislative and Regulatory
FDA finalizes rule on unique device identification system
A final rule to set up a unique device identification system for medical devices has been released by the FDA. The system is meant to offer a way to consistently identify medical technology products as well as enhance the tracking of adverse events. The FDA will implement the UDI system in phases, with initial focus on high-risk devices. Reuters (9/20), AuntMinnie.com (free registration) (9/20), Clinica (subscription required) (9/20)
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CMS releases framework for health care law's Basic Health Program
The CMS on Friday issued the standards for the Affordable Care Act's Basic Health Program initiative, which allows states to choose from two enrollment models for lower-income people who are not qualified for Medicaid but would be eligible to purchase coverage on a health insurance exchange. Under the proposed standards, states need to have a Basic Health Plan blueprint in order to carry out the program. Modern Healthcare (subscription required) (9/20), The Hill/Healthwatch blog (9/20)
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Featured Content
Trend Watch
Canadian company offers designer prosthetic leg covers
A Canadian couple has designed an affordable line of high-fashion prosthetic leg covers in an effort to give amputees a way to personalize their prostheses and expect to launch a fall-winter collection from their new business, Alleles Design Studio, later this month. "I'm getting more and more people looking for different types of cosmetics [rather] than normal look-like-a-real-leg cosmetics," said Jon Allen of Alberta Artificial Limb clinic. CBC.ca (Canada) (9/20)
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Business and Finance
Fla. college receives grant for O&P training
St. Petersburg College in Florida won a $2 million federal grant to increase the number of certified health care workers with O&P expertise. The college, which offers a bachelor's degree in orthotics and prosthetics, will use the funds to enhance the development of a comprehensive innovation center for this training. American City Business Journals/Tampa, Fla. (9/20)
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Mobile van offers O&P services for children
A mobile clinic from Midwest Orthotic and Technology Center is providing once-a-month specialized services to Therapediatrics, in Vernon Hills, Ill. The van, staffed by a certified orthotist, offers digital scanners and other equipment to service and repair prosthetic and orthotic devices used by Therapediatrics families and patients. Lake County News-Sun (Gurnee, Ill.) (9/21)
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AOPA News
Breaking news from AOPA
The 2013 O&P World Congress was an overwhelming success! Check out the Opening Ceremony video along with our special report on the groundbreaking attendance at this prestigious event. Strike while the iron is hot and take action on the Medicare O&P Improvements Act -- send a letter to your representatives today! The FDA has released the final rule regarding unique device identifiers, and the DME MAC announces a pre-payment review for L5981. AOPA's final Coding & Billing Seminar of 2013 is coming up in Vegas--stay on top of the game and don't miss it! All of this in today’s AOPA Breaking News.
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Oct. 22-23: Mastering Medicare: Advanced Coding and Billing Techniques, Las Vegas
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