Socket sensor monitors pressure on residual limb | Boston Marathon bombing inspired new advances in prosthetics | Minor lesions increase foot ulcer risk in diabetes
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April 15, 2014
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AOPA In Advance SmartBrief
News for Professionals in the Orthotics, Prosthetics and Pedorthics Profession

Top Story
Socket sensor monitors pressure on residual limb
British researchers have developed a postage-stamp-sized sensor that, placed in the socket of a prosthetic leg, can monitor pressure and rubbing from walking and help prevent discomfort or injury -- as well as alert clinicians to the need for adjustments. "A large number of lower-limb amputees may suffer from nerve damage and they have reduced skin sensation. ... [O]nce that soft tissue is compromised it could lead to infection and could be really serious," said lead researcher Liudi Jiang of the University of Southampton, which worked with prosthetics firm Blatchford to develop the sensor. BBC (4/14)
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Science and Technology
Boston Marathon bombing inspired new advances in prosthetics
The Boston Marathon bombing last year served as a catalyst for new advances in prosthetic technology, according to this article. MIT's Biomechatronics group developed specialized artificial legs for dancers as well as runners, and MIT graduate student David Sengeh won an award for an improved socket using MRI data and a 3D printer. "The Boston bombing kind of broadened the horizon," said Levi Hargrove, director of the Neural Engineering for Prosthetics and Orthotics Laboratory at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, whose team has built a prototype of a mind-controlled prosthetic leg. Discovery (4/14)
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Medical News
Minor lesions increase foot ulcer risk in diabetes
Research showed diabetes patients who had minor lesions at the start of the study were nine times as likely to develop foot ulcers as those without lesions. However, those who wore customized shoes were 57% less likely than those who did not to develop foot ulcers. The findings in Diabetes Care suggest treating minor sores and using specialized footwear to protect feet from injury and pressure are the best measures to prevent foot ulcers in diabetes patients, researchers said. Reuters (4/14)
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Study: Standard tests often miss diabetic neuropathy in pediatric patients
The standard noninvasive tests for peripheral diabetic neuropathy in children with type 1 diabetes -- using 10g monofilament or a tuning fork to determine if patients can detect light touch -- did not prove highly effective in identifying the condition, according to a review of past studies that was published online in the journal Pediatrics. The lead author, Gerrit Hirschfeld of the German Paediatric Pain Centre at Children's and Adolescents' Hospital, said that data on the subject is scarce, so pediatricians should continue to use available noninvasive methods. However, "these probably detect only stronger forms of nerve damage," Hirschfeld said. Medscape (free registration) (4/11)
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Legislative and Regulatory
Feds to host public meeting on HIT regulatory framework
A three-day public meeting will be hosted by the ONC, the FDA and the Federal Communications Commission next month to get comments from stakeholders on a framework the agencies developed to efficiently regulate health IT solutions. The framework was designed to oversee HIT platforms based on their functions as well as potential risks. The meeting is tentatively scheduled for May 13-15. Health Data Management (4/11)
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ACA spurs insurance companies to monitor diabetes patients
To avoid the heavy costs of complications from diabetes, many insurance companies are systematically tracking clients with diabetes who signed up under the Affordable Care Act to ensure that they are taking prescribed medications, following their diets and not missing doctors' appointments. WellPoint has started workshops for diabetes patients, and Cigna is sending out nurses for home visits. Cigna says its efforts have resulted in a 42% lower rate of hospital admissions and 24% reduction in short-term complications. Star Tribune (Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minn.) (4/13)
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Trend Watch
Marine completes cross-country bike ride on 2 prostheses
Rob Jones, a U.S. Marine who lost both legs in Afghanistan in 2010, completed his seven-month, 5,100-mile bicycle trek from Maine to California on Saturday. Jones has one leg amputated above the knee and the other at the knee. The ride, a fundraiser for three veterans charities, raised $115,000. San Diego Union-Tribune (4/12)
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Double amputee brings grace, artistry to "Dancing" show
Double amputee and Paralympic snowboard bronze medalist Amy Purdy has lasted four weeks on ABC's "Dancing with the Stars," exhibiting beauty, artistry and honest expression in her movements, writes dance critic Sarah Kaufman. Purdy may collaborate with MIT's Hugh Herr, who designed a prosthetic dancing leg for Boston Marathon survivor Adrianne Haslet-Davis, to create better prostheses for snowboarding. "There is no disability," said Herr. "There is only poor design." The Washington Post (tiered subscription model) (4/12)
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AOPA News
Breaking news from AOPA
The deadline for the Opportunities in Clinical O&P Research Support and Grants is coming up: April 30 -- be sure to get your proposal in ASAP! The American Board for Certification in Orthotics, Prosthetics & Pedorthics (ABC) is seeking nominations for its board of directors -- make a nomination today! AOPA has announced the next Coding & Billing Seminar in Boston, Mass. -- sign your practitioners and office staff up today for advanced coding and billing techniques! Congratulations to Ottobock's new market manager for lower extremity prosthetics, John Spillar -- 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
It is easy to sit up and take notice. What is difficult is getting up and taking action."
-- Al Batt,
American writer
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