Japanese scientists develop prosthetic hand with 3 fingers | Bionic limbs changing relationship of humans and machines | Soldier works with schools to custom-design prosthetic leg
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November 19, 2013
AOPA In Advance SmartBrief
News for Professionals in the Orthotics, Prosthetics and Pedorthics Profession

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Japanese scientists develop prosthetic hand with 3 fingers
The Trans-Radial Prosthesis With Three Opposed Fingers, designed by several research groups in Japan, is just that: an artificial hand with only three fingers. The energy-efficient design uses fewer servos and reduces complexity and cost without a great loss in range of functions, such as grasping objects. Gizmodo (11/18)
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Bionic limbs changing relationship of humans and machines
At last week's Ignition digital media conference, Hugh Herr, director of the Biomechatronics Research Group at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Media Lab, talked about how the advancement of "bionics" is changing how amputees interact with their devices. "We are starting to see in this new bionic era a new interaction between the human and the built environment," he said. When fitted with bionic devices, "the patient will say things like, ‘I have my body back,’" Herr observed. "That’s technological embodiment with the human physiology, which is very, very interesting." Business Insider (11/16)
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Soldier works with schools to custom-design prosthetic leg
Army combat diver Billy Costello, who lost a leg above the knee in Afghanistan, is working with the Hanger College of Orthotics and Prosthetics at St. Petersburg College in Florida to design a unique prosthetic leg that would be suitable in the water and on land. Pentagon officials say Costello is the only active-duty amputee on record to design his own prosthesis. A consortium that includes SPC and Florida State University offers a master's degree in industrial engineering with a specialty in management of orthotics and prosthetics, and Costello hopes his design can be improved enough so that graduate students can work on finalizing it as a class project. Stars and Stripes (11/17)
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Medical News
Scientists investigate molecule critical to wound healing
Scientists have identified a molecule present in skin cells called FOX01 that plays a key role in wound healing. FOX01 appears to open a pathway for a special gene, TGF-β1, which is also important in the healing process, and to protect cells against oxidative stress. Researchers hope the findings will lead to improved wound healing in patients. Science World Report (11/16)
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Vanderbilt, YMCA tackle diabetes in Tenn.
Vanderbilt University is joining the fight against diabetes by offering counseling on diet and glucose management. Researchers at the school will conduct imaging studies to examine how the brain responds to food and recruit volunteers for a study of whether a low-carb diet works better than the portion control recommended by the American Diabetes Association. Meanwhile, YMCAs across Tennessee are launching a counseling program in partnership with the National Diabetes Prevention Program to advise patients on diet and exercise to control the disease. The Tennessean (Nashville) (tiered subscription model) (11/17)
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Ukraine vulnerable to polio outbreak
With the reappearance of polio in Israel and Syria, Ukraine is at high risk for a polio outbreak, since its immunization rates for children 1 year and younger are only 30% to 50%. "There is a lot of public distrust [of vaccination]. But polio is highly infectious -- once it starts it spreads very quickly," warned Yukie Mokuo, the U.N. Children's Fund representative in Ukraine. It is critical that officials rebuild their vaccination system, WHO representative Dorit Nitzan said. Reuters (11/15)
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Legislative and Regulatory
HealthCare.gov will become "easiest place to shop for health care," Obama says
Some 200,000 supporters were urged by President Barack Obama to assist in getting people enrolled in health insurance, and he said that HealthCare.gov would in the end be the "easiest place" to gain access to care despite numerous technical problems. "We've made sure that we've got a strong plan to not just fix the website, which I'm taking responsibility for, but also to make sure that there are other ways that people can sign up, and you guys are going to be critical in that process," Obama said in a call Monday arranged by Organizing for Action. Reuters (11/18)
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Trend Watch
Team ReWalk raises $30,000 in 1-mile exoskeleton race
Team ReWalk, a group of paralyzed individuals who have been able to walk again thanks to a robotic exoskeleton, participated in a 1-mile charity race to raise more than $30,000 for the Exoskeletal-Assisted Walking Program at the James J. Peters VA Medical Center. The 44-pound ReWalk system uses a battery backpack, wristwatch remote, crutches and motorized attachments to the legs, hips and trunk. New York Post (11/16)
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Other News
Breaking news from AOPA
Hanger launches its RAC Navigation Tool -- check it out! Melissa Stockwell is honored with the Wilma Rudolph Courage Award -- congratulations, Melissa! AOPA reaffirms support for the Convention on the Rights for Persons with Disabilities -- send a letter to your senator today! CMS released the 2014 Medicare premium and deductible amounts -- get the scoop! The 2014 AOPAversity Audio Conference topics and dates have been announced -- mark your calendars! Become a presenter at the 2014 AOPA National Assembly -- the place to be! All of this and more in today's AOPA Breaking News.
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