Scientists explore mind-controlled robotic legs | "Bionic Man" sees change in public perception of people with disabilities | Study: Drug for depression effective against diabetic peripheral neuropathy
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August 7, 2014
AOPA In Advance SmartBrief
News for Professionals in the Orthotics, Prosthetics and Pedorthics Profession

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Scientists explore mind-controlled robotic legs
A research team at the University of Houston is testing a mind-brain interface that may one day allow paralyzed individuals to control a pair of robotic legs with their thoughts. They are testing their work on a robotic exoskeleton made by the New Zealand-based company Rex Bionics. While the company has no plans to commercialize a thought-controlled version, Rex Bionics CEO Jeremy Curnock Cook called it "fascinating" and said the technology could one day lead to giving completely paralyzed individuals the ability to walk. The Telegraph (London) (tiered subscription model) (8/6)
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Science and Technology
"Bionic Man" sees change in public perception of people with disabilities
Advanced prosthetic devices like the i-limb are changing how the public perceives people with disabilities, says Bertolt Meyer, who served as the model for the Smithsonian Channel's documentary "The Incredible Bionic Man." "I think these devices have the potential to change commonly held stereotypes towards people with a disability," Meyer said in a recent interview. "Technology -- high-tech and bionics -- inherently evokes a feeling of competence. And what you get when you blend a person with a piece of high-tech is something that stereotypically is very competent." Business Insider (8/6)
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Medical News
Study: Drug for depression effective against diabetic peripheral neuropathy
The drug desvenlafaxine, a serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor approved for treatment of depression, may be effective in treating diabetic peripheral neuropathy, according to a 13-week randomized trial of 412 patients with painful symptoms. Desvenlafaxine relieved pain associated with DPN at doses of 200 and 400 milligrams per day. The results appear in the Journal of Pain Research. (8/6)
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Work stress may raise the odds of diabetes
Male and female employees who reported having job strain were more likely to develop type 2 diabetes regardless of their lifestyle habits than those without job strain, researchers reported in Diabetes Care. News (8/4)
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Legislative and Regulatory
Medicare faces backlog of appeals, chief ALJ says
Medicare anti-fraud efforts using the Recovery Audit Contractor process have led to a large backlog of appeals, and there is a lack of staff to handle them, Chief Administrative Law Judge Nancy Griswold told a House subcommittee. Rep. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., said more than 100 O&P firms have gone out of business waiting to be paid. McKnight's Long-Term Care News (8/1)
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  • For more:
    Learn what AOPA has to say about the Medicare appeals reform hearing and watch the congressional hearings. Send a letter to your congressional representatives about the administrative law judge appeal delays.
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CMS plans ICD-10 testing sessions for claim submitters
The CMS will conduct three end-to-end ICD-10 testing sessions next year to allow providers and other submitters to ensure they are ready to transmit claims as well as receive remittance advice regarding the adjudication of their claims. Around 2,550 volunteers will be given the opportunity to test their ICD-10 processes. (8/5)
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Trend Watch
Australian amputee veteran now a canoe sprint champion
Former Australian soldier Curtis McGrath will be competing in the Canoe Sprint World Championships in Moscow almost two years after losing both legs to an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan. McGrath won the para-canoe event at the Australian championships in 2013 and hopes to compete in the Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro in 2016, where the event will debut. Herald Sun (Melbourne, Australia) (tiered subscription model) (8/5)
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Business and Finance
For complete coverage, consider alternate types of insurance
The basic array of business insurance policies may not be enough for full protection, attorney Barbara Weltman writes. Among the additional types to consider are coverage for interruption of your business, such as in the case of a natural catastrophe, and workers' compensation for yourself. Small Business Trends (8/6)
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Breaking news from AOPA
District court grants a motion to dismiss in AOPA v. U.S. Health & Human Services on audits, prosthetist's notes and Dear Physician letter -- get the news and AOPA's statement. The CMS announces limited re-start to RAC activities -- get the update and contact your member of Congress! A new CMS proposed rule could limit your patients' access to care and could eliminate the role of orthotic fitters --RSVP to AOPA's OTS Orthotic Regulations Webinar and send the CMS your comments! Earn 36 Continuing Education credits at the National Assembly -- the place to be! All of this and more in today's AOPA Breaking News.
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Upcoming events
Aug. 13: AFO/KAFO Policy: Understanding the Rules, Webinar conference Learn more or register online.
Aug. 14: OTS Orthotics: What CMS's Proposed Rule Could Mean for You, Webinar conference  Learn more or register online.
Sept. 4-7:
AOPA 2014 National Assembly, Las Vegas, Nev. 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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Failure is an event -- never a person."
-- William Brown,
American writer
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