Artificial skin responds to pressure by lighting up | Student builds inexpensive wireless prosthetic hand | Study: Insect movements could aid prosthetic advances
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July 23, 2013
AOPA In Advance SmartBrief
News for Professionals in the Orthotics, Prosthetics and Pedorthics Profession

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Artificial skin responds to pressure by lighting up
Scientists at the University of California, Berkeley, and Michigan State University have created an artificial skin that illuminates when touched and becomes brighter as pressure is increased. The material, consisting of LED lights placed between plastic and pressure-sensitive rubber, could have applications in the development of touch-sensitive skin for prosthetic limbs. International Business Times (7/22)
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Student builds inexpensive wireless prosthetic hand
Working out of his Colorado bedroom, 17-year-old Easton LaChappelle taught himself computer programming and 3D printing to build an advanced prosthetic hand that will be sold for less than $400. His system employs a wireless EEG headset that taps into 10 brain channels to move the device, which is far stronger than a human hand and, unlike some advanced prostheses, requires no surgery. Fast Company online (7/23)
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Study: Insect movements could aid prosthetic advances
An analysis of how insects like grasshoppers and locusts move their legs without using muscles could provide insight into the development of prosthetic limbs, according to University of Leicester researcher Tom Matheson in a study published by the journal Current Biology. "The surprising result was that although some movements are influenced by properties of muscles and tendons, other movements are generated by forces from within the joints themselves," he said. Leicester Mercury (England) (7/20)
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British students design pneumatic pants to aid standing
Design students at the Royal College of Art in London have built a prototype device consisting of a set of small interconnected air bags that fits over the legs. As the device inflates, it allows the user to stand and sit back down gently. The students hope to develop a more streamlined model that could be powered by an integrated foot pump. BBC (7/22)
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MS patient in Mich. regains mobility with Kickstart system
A 40-year-old Michigan woman with multiple sclerosis was able to walk with a more normal gait after five years of mobility problems after being fitted with the Kickstart Walking System developed by Cadence Biomedical. The bracelike device has pulleys at the hip and ankle that are attached to a spring to help move the leg forward. Kickstart was designed to provide assistance and also help build leg muscles in patients with mobility issues. (Michigan) (free registration) (7/19)
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Medical News
Firm to unveil copper-containing anti-fungal socks aimed at preventing foot infections
Socks that have been integrated with anti-microbial copper have been developed by Virginia- and Israeli-based Cupron to help prevent foot infections in patients with diabetes. The company's PRO Therapy socks will be commercially available this fall. Cupron will market first to the medical and podiatric community, targeting patients with diabetes, who have an increased risk of foot infections. Richmond Times-Dispatch (Va.) (7/23)
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War on polio suffers setbacks
Anger over U.S. foreign policy in Pakistan has set back the global effort to eradicate polio, but the country's longstanding rivalry with India and a redoubled effort by Pakistan's government and religious leaders might help overcome resistance to vaccination efforts. Meanwhile, 20 new cases were reported recently in Somalia, after six years of no new cases, bringing the number of cases in the Horn of Africa to 73. Emergency immunization campaigns have been waged since May, but some areas of the country are inaccessible to vaccination teams. The New York Times (tiered subscription model) (7/21), National Public Radio/Shots blog (7/20)
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Legislative and Regulatory
ONC issues updates on HIT strategic plan
The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT has released a report on its progress addressing the five objectives laid out in the agency's Federal Health IT Strategic Plan 2011-2015. The report discusses progress on EHR usage; technology-driven approaches to improving care, health and resource use; patient safety and more. Government Health IT online (7/22)
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Trend Watch
Nonprofit aims to recycle used prostheses overseas
The nonprofit Limbs for U, founded by Seattle businessman Richard Toms, has joined the city's Northwest Center, which provides job training and other services, to collect and recycle used prosthetic limbs for amputees in other countries. The center will disassemble, clean and refurbish the prostheses, while Limbs for U will distribute them to clinics overseas. The Tacoma, Wash., branch of Hanger donated four boxes of artificial limbs to the effort. The Seattle Times (7/21)
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Donkey's prosthetic leg may save horses in the future
An Alabama miniature donkey named Emma, who has worn a series of prosthetic legs since birth, is providing valuable insight into how such artificial limbs could one day save horses, donkeys and other animals that, today, are often euthanized because of leg injuries or malformed limbs. Hanger Clinic, which has made all of Emma's prostheses, and Auburn University are examining how to develop a device that can flex like a real hoof and still bear Emma's weight. The Times and Democrat (Orangeburg, S.C.)/The Associated Press (7/22)
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Breaking news from AOPA
AOPA has an important litigation update from the lawsuit filed against HHS/CMS: A motion to dismiss! Two critical meeting announcements require your attendance: a HIPAA webinar and the next CMS Open Door Forum Call on the Proposed Physician Documentation Template for Lower Limb Prostheses. Major headlines worth note include DME MACs questioning the billing of prosthetic covers and skins, along with Jurisdiction B initiating a pre-payment review. Learn about what education is coming up at the O&P World Congress and save today on your registration – the Early Bird deadline is nearing! Be sure to complete the 2013 Operating Performance & Compensation/Benefits Report and check out AOPA's upcoming events – all of this and more in today's AOPA Breaking News.
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Upcoming events
Aug. 14: Don't Get Stuck with the Bill: Medicare Inpatient Billing (Telephone audio conference)
Learn more or 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: 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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British poet
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