Microprocessors, materials and software launch new bionic era | 3D prostheses feasible, but costs and engineering remain challenges | JaipurKnee company partners with Jaipur Foot Organization
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August 27, 2013
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Microprocessors, materials and software launch new bionic era
In London, scientists are assembling a Bionic Man that will combine advanced artificial limbs and organs, all operated by computer, in a demonstration of the extraordinary technological advances that are taking place in the fields of prosthetic devices and replacement organs. The Bionic Man, which incorporates i-limb and other innovations, will be the subject of a Smithsonian Channel documentary in October. Biophysicist and engineer Hugh Herr of MIT's Media Lab predicts that, because prostheses are improving so quickly, physical disabilities may be a thing of the past by the end of this century. Smithsonian Magazine (9/2013)
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Science and Technology
3D prostheses feasible, but costs and engineering remain challenges
3D printing can create relatively inexpensive, highly customized prostheses, but ensuring that the socket fits properly to the body remains a challenge. "We can print out a socket that can be used definitively, but attached to that socket is generally some sort of suspension device," said WillowWood Director of Research Jim Colvin. "To print that [component] in the same printer is not possible today." Nevertheless, Patrice Johnson, former Physionetics chief technical officer, has used 3D printing to create prosthetic arms for land-mine victims in Myanmar and Thailand. Johnson sees creating low-cost prostheses for victims in third-world countries as the next application for 3D printing. The Atlantic online (8/23)
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JaipurKnee company partners with Jaipur Foot Organization
ReMotion, the San Francisco-based company that has fitted almost 5,000 patients with its inexpensive JaipurKnee prosthesis, is now partnering with the Jaipur Foot Organization, the world's largest provider of prosthetic devices in India and the world. As part of a pilot program, all above-the-knee amputees in Jaipur, India, who qualify will be fitted with the JaipurKnee. The durable device is made of only five plastic pieces and uses a self-lubricating oil-filled nylon polymer. MedGadget.com (8/26)
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Medical News
Electrospinning shows potential in treating diabetes wounds
British researchers are working on a novel technique called Electrospinning that develops tiny nanofibers and builds a 3D tissue scaffold to create skin cells and blood vessels. The technique was successfully used to create skin cells to heal wounds in rats with diabetes, previous research showed. The latest findings were published in the journal Small. Diabetes.co.uk (U.K.) (8/23)
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Other News
Legislative and Regulatory
GAO: Medicare investigations need more consistent rules
The rules for Medicare's review of post-payment claims need to be more consistent to avoid unnecessary confusion, the Government Accountability Office said. The CMS agreed with the findings and is examining such areas as standardizing requirements for Additional Documentation Requests and providing more information about its reviews on its website. McKnight's Long-Term Care News (8/26)
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Featured Content
Trend Watch
Third Spare Parts art show features paintings on prostheses
Amputee Priscilla Sutton has mounted her third exhibition of Spare Parts, which features artists' work on prosthetic limbs, in Brisbane, Australia. Sutton receives many artificial-limb donations from the families of amputees who have died. "One of the really nice things about Spare Parts has been to give back to the families; for them to know that a part of their loved one lives on in the exhibition," she said. The Chronicle (Toowoomba, Australia) (8/24)
Head and heart key to artificial-limb success, says Texas prosthetist
When certified prosthetist Aaron Jurkis of Abilene Artificial Limb looks back, he acknowledges the extraordinary technological changes that have swept the field since he began in 1995. But what hasn't changed, he said, is the satisfaction of helping patients regain movements that may have seemed impossible following amputation. He said that "90% of any prosthetic device is in your head and your heart." He added, "I tell everybody you can do everything you want to do with or on a prosthetic device, you may just have to find a little bit different way to do it." Sioux City Journal (Iowa) (8/23)
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Business and Finance
Hanger acquires 4 companies with $10M in annualized sales
Texas-based Hanger has acquired four patient-care companies with facilities in six states: East Coast Orthotics; Keller's Limb & Brace, dba Snell's of Jackson; Nascott; and Development & Research, dba San Juan P&O. These acquisitions have around $10 million in annualized sales among them, which puts Hanger halfway to its 2013 goal of acquiring companies with $20 million annualized sales. Nasdaq.com (8/26)
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Breaking news from AOPA
Tomorrow is the HIPAA & HITECH Final Rule Webinar -- don't  miss it! Register today! AOPA is encouraging all prosthetists to complete surveys pertaining to Medicare documentation in prosthetics assisting efforts with CMS RAC audits. The AOPA World Congress is less than one month away and will feature a prestigious amount of regulatory education on Friday--be on the lookout. Knee orthosis policy has been revised, CMS’s follow-up, open-door forum call is coming up soon, and ABC celebrates its 65th anniversary--all of this in today’s AOPA Breaking News.
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Upcoming events
Aug. 28: 2013 HIPAA & the HITECH Final Rule Webinar
Learn more and register online
Sept. 11:
Read Between the Lines: The Medicare Lower Limb Prosthetic Policy (Telephone audio conference)
Learn more or register online
Sept. 18-21: AOPA O&P World Congress, Orlando, Fla.
Learn more or register online
Oct. 22-23: Mastering Medicare: Advanced Coding and Billing Techniques, Las Vegas
Learn more or register online
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With every deed you are sowing a seed, though the harvest you may not see."
-- Ella Wheeler Wilcox,
American writer and poet
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