Chinese scientists create brain-controlled prosthetic arm | Prosthetic hand leads pair to Intel contest finals | Total contact casting successful but underused in reducing amputations
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September 4, 2014
AOPA In Advance SmartBrief
News for Professionals in the Orthotics, Prosthetics and Pedorthics Profession

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Chinese scientists create brain-controlled prosthetic arm
Scientists at China's Zhejiang University have built a bionic arm that is controlled by the user's thoughts. "The accuracy of gestures can reach 80 percent," said Zhu Junming, a brain surgeon at the university's medical school. The device uses electrodes attached to the patient's brain to relay signals to the arm. Press TV (Iran) (9/3)
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Prosthetic hand leads pair to Intel contest finals
With their submission of a low-cost prosthetic hand, Open Bionics founder Joel Gibbard and a colleague are among 10 global finalists in an Intel competition called Make It Wearable. Gibbard's goal is "creating the most advanced technology to sell at the lowest possible price." Gibbard and the colleague have already won $50,000 and are in the running for the $500,000 grand prize. The Bristol Post (U.K.) (9/3)
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Medical News
Total contact casting successful but underused in reducing amputations
Research published in the journal Advances in Skin & Wound Care found that patients who did not have total contact casting to offload diabetic foot ulcers had significantly more amputations. The study examined a wound-care registry of 11,784 patients with over 25,000 diabetic foot ulcers. "Total contact casting is vastly underutilized in DFU wound care settings, suggesting that there is a gap in practice for adequate off-loading," wrote the authors. McKnight's Long-Term Care News (9/1)
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Significant jump seen in double mastectomies for breast cancer patients
A study in the Journal of the American Medical Association found the number of breast cancer patients in California who had a preventive double mastectomy rose to 12.3% in 2011 from 2% in 1998, even though studies show the approach does not increase rates of survival and carries with it a greater risk of complications. Researchers also said that death rates for patients who underwent breast-conserving surgery are the same as for those who had bilateral mastectomy. HealthDay News (9/2)
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Study links pistachios to lower diabetes risk
A small Spanish study revealed prediabetes patients who ate about 2 ounces of pistachios daily had lower levels of fasting blood glucose, insulin and insulin resistance markers compared with controls. The findings appear in Diabetes Care. Reuters (9/1)
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Legislative and Regulatory
Deciding whether to participate with Medicare
O&P practitioners must decide annually whether to participate with Medicare, and the year-end open enrollment period is approaching. Electing to be a participating provider means you accept assignment on Medicare claims and may not collect more than what Medicare allows, writes Devon Bernard, assistant director of coding, reimbursement, programming and education for AOPA. Receiving payment directly from Medicare is one main benefit to participating; a benefit to not participating is the ability to accept assignment on a case-by-case basis. O&P Almanac (Adobe Flash required) (9/2014)
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Industry gearing up for 2015 open enrollment
A shorter open enrollment season, shifting premiums and new carriers have many in the health care industry girding for challenges as Affordable Care Act implementation continues. Insurers expect a smoother experience than last year, but they are still preparing for glitches and hoping for an influx of healthy enrollees. The New York Times (tiered subscription model) (9/3), The Wall Street Journal (tiered subscription model) (9/3)
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Trend Watch
Youth said to be first double amputee to play contact football
Ten-year-old Deven Jackson is "the first double amputee in the nation to play" youth contact football, according to officials from the CFA Football League, which supervises youth teams in Pennsylvania, and USA Football, which governs youth and high-school football nationally. Deven, who lost his lower legs to meningitis in 2012, now uses running blades for sports and plays on a West Perry, Pa., midget football team. The Patriot-News (Harrisburg, Pa.) (9/4)
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Fashion designer offers quad amputee chance to walk the runway
After quadruple amputee Karen Crespo wrote to designer Carrie Hammer to praise her use of disabled models, Hammer offered Crespo the opportunity to appear on the runway. Hammer also helped Crespo receive a pair of customized prosthetic arms from Hanger to replace a pair that was stolen. Bustle (9/3)
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Other News
Breaking news from AOPA
Brace yourselves -- today is the big day! It's the 2014 AOPA National Assembly in Las Vegas at the Mandalay Bay Hotel & Casino. It is running at full power with emerging innovative technologies, unlimited networking opportunities, groundbreaking product debuts and an exhibit hall full of business collaborations that will be memorable long after this meeting. Please share your ENERGY with AOPA and the O&P Almanac! Contact Steve Custer at or follow us on Facebook and Twitter, and share your Assembly experience and photos with the hashtag #AOPA14. We are @AmericanOandP!
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Upcoming events
Sept. 4-7: AOPA 2014 National Assembly, Las Vegas, Nev. Learn more or register online.
Sept. 10: Urban Legends in O&P: What to Believe, Webinar conference  Learn more or register online
Oct. 20-21:
Mastering Medicare: Coding & Billing Seminar, St. Louis, Mo. Learn more or register online.
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-- Robert Louis Stevenson,
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