Study: Custom orthoses reduce foot ulcer recurrence | New microchip array mimics efficiency of human brain | Students design prosthetic arm for science competition
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April 29, 2014
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AOPA In Advance SmartBrief
News for Professionals in the Orthotics, Prosthetics and Pedorthics Profession

Top Story
Study: Custom orthoses reduce foot ulcer recurrence
A 15-month study of 150 patients found that in-shoe orthoses designed specifically for foot shape and barefoot plantar pressures appear to prevent recurrence of diabetic foot ulcers more effectively than standard Medicare-reimbursed orthoses that are only molded to the patient’s foot. The study of 150 patients, led Jan Ulbrecht at Pennsylvania’s Mount Nittany Health System, appears online in Diabetes Care. Ulbrecht urged clinicians to accept orthoses only from providers "who demonstrably care about outcomes and have the capacity to individualize footwear." Medscape (free registration) (4/28)
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Science and Technology
New microchip array mimics efficiency of human brain
Stanford University researchers have built a new generation of microchips whose speed and energy efficiency are much closer to that of the human brain, opening fresh opportunities for advanced robotics and prosthetic devices. The tablet-sized Neurogrid, which contains 16 custom chips, can simulate 1 million neurons and billions of synaptic connections, and could led to implants that control paralyzed or artificial limbs without overheating the brain. The research appears in the Proceedings of the IEEE. PhysOrg.com (4/28)
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Students design prosthetic arm for science competition
Students from a Colorado middle school built a lightweight prosthetic arm capable of picking up objects and throwing balls. The device won gold medals at the state’s Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement competition. Next, they will take their electronic-powered arm -- which comprises a carbon fiber tube, scoop device and two plastic fingers -- to a national MESA competition in Oregon. Broomfield Enterprise (Colo.) (4/28), The Denver Post (4/29)
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Medical News
Study: Greater coffee intake protects against type 2 diabetes
Individuals who increased their daily consumption of coffee by more than a cup over time had an 11% reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes compared with people whose consumption stayed the same, according to a study in the journal Diabetologia. Individuals who reduced their coffee intake by more than a cup a day had a 17% higher risk of diabetes. CNN/The Chart blog (4/24)
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Researchers use cloning technique to create insulin-producing cells
By placing the DNA of an individual with type 1 diabetes into a human egg, scientists were able to create an embryonic clone from which they extracted stem cells. Researchers then manipulated the stem cells into insulin-producing beta cells. Eventually, such beta cells could be transplanted back into a patient to treat diabetes. The study appears in the journal Nature. The Wall Street Journal (tiered subscription model) (4/28)
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Other News
Legislative and Regulatory
HHS plans 60-day enrollment window for high-risk patients
Patients enrolled in the federal Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan have from May 1 to June 30 to enroll in a health insurance plan. The PCIP program is scheduled to end Wednesday. Kaiser Health News/Capsules blog (4/25)
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Medicare, non-Medicare ACOs exceed 500
The number of accountable care organizations in the U.S. rose from 370 last year to 522 this year, according to an Oliver Wyman report. The report also noted that there are now 154 non-Medicare ACOs and 368 Medicare ACOs in operation. BeckersHospitalReview.com (4/24), Healthcare Informatics online (4/25)
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Trend Watch
Prosthetists volunteer at rural Haitian clinic
Michael Bissell and Paul Morton of Advanced Prosthetics & Orthotics in Winston-Salem, N.C., recently spent 10 days fitting prostheses at a clinic in northwest Haiti under the auspices of the nonprofit organization Phoenix Rising for Haiti. The two, along with two Australian prosthetists, worked entirely with donated materials, and Bissell and Morton brought about 300 pounds of devices and supplies with them in their luggage. Without an oven to heat foam to fit artificial limbs, the prosthetists used a heat gun inside a cardboard box. Winston-Salem Journal (N.C.) (4/28)
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AOPA News
Breaking news from AOPA
The deadline for the Opportunities in Clinical O&P Research Support and Grants is TOMORROW -- be sure to get your proposal in ASAP! The International Paralympic Committee has announced a new snowboard discipline for 2014-2015. Para-athletics is on the rise! AOPA's next Coding & Billing Seminar is in Boston, Mass. Get your lineup of practitioners and office staff ready to hit the proverbial home run with advanced coding and billing techniques -- it's out of the park! Get the Recovery Audit Contractor update, and CMS Deputy Administrator Jonathan Blum resigns from his post -- all of this and more in today's AOPA Breaking News.
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Upcoming events
May 14:  Modifiers: How & When to Use Them (Telephone audio conference) Learn more or register online.
June 12-13: Mastering Medicare: Coding & Billing Seminar, Boston, Mass. Learn more or register online.
Sept. 4-7: AOPA 2014 National Assembly, Las Vegas, Nev. Learn more.
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SmartQuote
The key to everything is patience. You get the chicken by hatching the egg, not by smashing it."
-- Arnold Glasow,
American businessman and humorist
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