Expert: Bionic arms and hands will one day be more functional than salvaged limbs | E-NABLE fabricates 3D printed arm for child | New prosthetic leg from Ottobock is waterproof
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June 5, 2014
AOPA In Advance SmartBrief
News for Professionals in the Orthotics, Prosthetics and Pedorthics Profession

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Expert: Bionic arms and hands will one day be more functional than salvaged limbs
The future holds the promise of artificial limbs superior to injured arms that surgeons are saving today, says Douglas T. Hutchinson of the University of Utah School of Medicine and chief of hand surgery at several regional hospitals. Hutchinson believes amputation surgery should preserve muscles and nerves to aid future control of prosthetic devices, and he believes that in the future surgeons who perform peripheral nerve surgery will be part of the team fitting amputees with high-end integrated devices. His article surveying the state of bionic-hand research appeared in the Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Product Design & Development online (6/4)
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Science and Technology
E-NABLE fabricates 3D printed arm for child
The volunteer organization e-NABLE has built many inexpensive prosthetic hands for children using open-source designs, but it entered new territory recently by building an arm for a 6-year-old boy who is missing his lower right arm and hand. The device combines PVC pipe with 3D-printed components, and the boy manipulates the arm and hand with cables that pull when he bends his elbow. (6/4)
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New prosthetic leg from Ottobock is waterproof
The Ottobock X3 is a completely waterproof prosthetic leg that allows users to enjoy time at the beach, swimming in a pool and shower without removing it. The major drawback is cost, which is not always covered by insurance. "[W]e don't put some of the best stuff on some of our patients and I wish we could," said prosthetist Norbert Fliess of American Limb & Orthopedic Co. WSJV-TV (South Bend, Ind.) (6/4)
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Medical News
Gastric bypass may be best option for obese diabetes patients
Obese type 2 diabetes patients who underwent gastric bypass surgery attained a mean weight loss of 27%, compared with 17.3% in the gastric banding arm and about 10% in the diet/exercise cohort, a study found. Another study revealed 58% of gastric bypass patients went into diabetes remission within a year following the surgery, while only 16% of those in the lifestyle intervention arm were able to do so. The results appear in JAMA Surgery. HealthDay News (6/4)
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Legislative and Regulatory
6M more Americans gain Medicaid and CHIP coverage, HHS reports
Enrollment in Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program rose by 6 million through April, and particularly high gains were seen in West Virginia, Oregon and Nevada, HHS officials said Wednesday. States that expanded their Medicaid programs under the Affordable Care Act had a 15.3% increase in the number of people gaining coverage, while enrollment increased by 3.3% in states that did not. Forbes (6/4), Politico (Washington, D.C.) (6/4), The Hill (6/4)
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Trend Watch
Amputee is asked to leave exit-row seat on Alaska Airlines flight
A veteran who served in Afghanistan said he was asked to leave his exit-row seat on an Alaska Airlines flight because he had a prosthetic leg, even though he sat in an exit-row seat on the first leg of his trip with the airline. FAA guidelines from January say that only "physical ability to perform the exit seat duties" should determine who sits in those seats, and a prosthesis would not disqualify a passenger from sitting there. The airline said it was working with the FAA for policy guidance. (6/4)
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Camp will provide 1,000 Afghanis with artificial limbs
A monthlong camp in Afghanistan will open Sunday to provide over 1,000 people with artificial limbs from the makers of the Jaipur Foot. A team of 25 doctors, specialists and artisans will be on hand at the event, which is sponsored by Bhagwan Mahaveer Viklang Sahayata Samiti, an organization that assists people with disabilities. The Times of India (6/5)
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Developer of Boston Arm dies
Melvin Glimcher, who helped develop the Boston Arm, died May 12 at the age of 88. Glimcher, who was an orthopedic surgeon, was also trained in mechanical engineering and physics. The Boston Arm, unveiled in 1968, responded to signals from the brain. The Boston Globe (tiered subscription model) (6/5)
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Breaking news from AOPA
O&P is excluded from the proposed Bundling and Coordinating Post-Acute Care Act (BACPAC) and AOPA is fighting to ensure that O&P is exempt from any similar legislation -- get the scoop! Tell Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth your concerns in a live conversation on June 19 -- RSVP today! Jurisdiction B changes policy regarding manufacturer information on additional documentation requests -- read the latest. AOPA is collecting video footage to create a public relations campaign promoting the Dobson-DaVanzo cost effectiveness study; O&P saves lives and money -- submit your patient care footage to AOPA ASAP! All of this and more in today's AOPA Breaking News.
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Upcoming events
June 11: The Self Audit: A Useful Tool, 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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