Tag: Science & Technology

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Study Identifies How Objects Affect Brain?s Grip Plan

Plots that relate the neural patterns from each experimental instance show how the plans for gripping either of two objects in different ways cluster distinctly and identifiably, from start of gripping effort (left) to contact. Image courtesy of the John Donoghue Lab and Brown University. A study conducted at Brown University has advanced neuroscientists’ understanding...

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Stanford Team Improves Precision of Brain-Controlled Prosthesis

Brain-controlled prostheses sample a few hundred neurons to estimate motor commands that involve millions of neurons, so tiny sampling errors can reduce the precision and speed of thought-controlled keypads. A Stanford technique can analyze this sample and make dozens of corrective adjustments in the blink of an eye to make thought control more precise. Image...

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Next Generation of Prosthetic Technology Will Restore More Capabilities

Future generations of prostheses could include sensors that send signals back to the brain so amputees can feel with their artificial fingers. Photograph courtesy of DARPA/JHUAPL. While athletes at the recent Warrior Games were able to run, jump, and throw using some of the latest prosthetic arms and legs, the next generation of this technology...

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Innovative P&O, Creighton University Receive Grant to Develop 3D-Printed Prostheses

Innovative Prosthetics & Orthotics, with main offices in Hastings, Omaha, and Grand Island, Nebraska, in partnership with the 3D Research & Innovation Laboratory at Creighton University, has been awarded a $50,000 grant from Nebraska’s Department of Economic Development to develop low-cost, medical grade 3D-printed prosthetic devices. The grant program provides an opportunity for the state...

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Ultrasound Accelerates Ulcer Healing

Healing times for bedsores and skin ulcers, including those related to diabetes, can be reduced by a third with the use of low-intensity ultrasound, scientists from England’s University of Sheffield (Sheffield) and University of Bristol (Bristol) have found. Researchers from Sheffield’s Department of Biomedical Science discovered the ultrasound transmits a vibration through the skin and...

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NAU Team Working Toward Refined Bionic Ankle

“I can put my foot down and my ankle can roll,” said test patient Derrick Stone. “If I inadvertently step on a rock, my foot rolls over. It’s about the closest thing you can get to having your foot back.” Photograph courtesy of the Nishikawa Biomechanics Laboratory at Northern Arizona University. A research team at...

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Implantable Artificial Pancreas Could Help Diabetes Patients Control Their Blood Sugar

Living with type 1 diabetes requires constant monitoring of blood sugar levels and injecting insulin daily. Now scientists are reporting the development of an implantable artificial pancreas that continuously measures a person’s blood sugar, or glucose, level and can automatically release insulin as needed in the American Chemical Society (ACS) journal Industrial & Engineering Chemistry...

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Researchers Say Use of Lower-Limb Prostheses Impacts Competitive Running

A team of researchers from Bournemouth University (BU), Poole, England, have been assessing the impact of lower-limb prostheses on competitive running, specifically looking at whether athletes with running blades have an unfair advantage when running against able-bodied athletes. A 2014 study by the same authors provided statistical evidence suggesting that the design of the running...

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Amputee Coalition Announces Scholarship Recipients

The Amputee Coalition has announced that four recipients will receive the Scott Decker, MD, Memorial Scholarship for the 2015-2016 academic year. The recipients, Austin Brown, Tyson Higel, Brickelle Bro, and Amy Frank, will each be awarded $1,000 toward their college tuition. Brown will attend Washington State University to study engineering. Higel currently attends Northwest Missouri...

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DoD, VA Address Best Care Practices for Veterans With Limb Loss

In the morning, the attendees listened to various presentations that focused on new information and techniques. The training was more hands-on in the afternoon, allowing the attendees to interact with one another and practice the things they were being taught. Photograph by Marlon J. Martin. Courtesy of the U.S. Army. About 100 medical experts from...

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Patient Fitted With Prosthetic Leg That Can Feel

Six sensors are attached to the sole of the prosthesis to provide nerve stimulation on the residual limb. Photograph courtesy of the University of Applied Sciences Upper Austria. Austrian researchers have fitted a man with a sensory-enhanced prosthetic leg that can produce feeling, which they say increases safety and reduces phantom limb pain. “The reestablished...

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Grippy Material May Benefit Prosthetic Grasp

A material inspired by the physics of geckos’ fingertips could allow robotic hands to grip nearly any type of object without applying excessive pressure. David Christensen, a mechanical engineering graduate student at Stanford University, was trimming a piece of adhesive modeled after the grippy fingers of geckos and noticed that the thin scrap seemed particularly...

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New Foam May Lead to Advances in Prosthetic Socks

Zeng displaying his new foam technology. Photograph by Bill Lax, courtesy of Florida State University. Whether it’s a football helmet, hospital bed, knee pad, or body armor, the foam within plays a critical role in making that product comfortable and safe. Now, Changchun “Chad” Zeng, PhD, a principal investigator with Florida State University’s High Performance...

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New Device May Help Identify Best Cancer Drugs for Each Patient

More than 100 drugs have been approved to treat cancer, but predicting which ones will help a particular patient is an inexact science at best. A new device developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) may change that. The implantable device, about the size of a grain of rice, can carry small doses of...

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Shriners Joins Mayo Clinic Care Network

Mayo Clinic, headquartered in Rochester, Minnesota, and Shriners Hospitals for Children, headquartered in Tampa, Florida, announced that Shriners has become a member of the Mayo Clinic Care Network, a national network of organizations committed to serving patients and their families through physician collaboration. This non-ownership relationship will allow Shriners to offer providers and patients access...

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Neuroprosthetic Device Yields Fluid Motions by Robotic Arm

Sorto uses the robotic arm to make a smoothie. Photograph by Spencer Kellis, courtesy of Caltech. Erik Sorto, who is paralyzed from the neck down after suffering a gunshot wound when he was 21, can now move a robotic arm just by thinking about it. Through a clinical collaboration among the California Institute of Technology...

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Developers of Mind-Controlled Bionic Lower Limbs Make Great Progress

The IMES System bridges the brain to the prosthetic limb, enabling the signals sent from the brain to the amputated limb’s residual muscles to control the prosthesis intuitively without the need for invasive brain or muscle reinnervation surgery. Two individuals with lower-limb amputations are the first people in the world able to control their bionic...

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Key to Reducing Pain in Surgery May Already Be in Your Hand

Imagine a hand-held electronic device-accessible, portable, and nearly universal-that could reduce pain and discomfort for patients and allow doctors the freedom to use less potentially risky and powerful medications to complement anesthesia. Now reach in your pocket, because chances are you already own one. According to new research from a team led by Cornell University...

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Bionics Expert Hugh Herr Describes Efforts to End Disability, Offers Hope

Hugh Herr. Image courtesy of UT Dallas. Last year, Kathryn Kuehn lost both hands and feet from a sudden bacterial infection that caused septic shock. The amputations left her in need of prosthetic limbs advanced enough to help in daily activities, including raising two children. When Kuehn saw that bionics expert Hugh Herr, PhD, would...

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NAAOP Announces Officers for 114th Congress

The National Association for the Advancement of Orthotics and Prosthetics (NAAOP) announced its new officers for the 114th Congress (2015-2016): McGill David McGill, JD, was elected president. A strong O&P advocate for many years, he has served on the NAAOP board since 2009, most recently as vice president. He also is a former board member...

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Re-Engineering Lupus Into a Cancer Killer

Researchers from the Yale Cancer Center and the Veterans Affairs Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System have devised a way to re-engineer lupus antibodies to turn them into potential cancer killers. Lupus is a chronic inflammatory disease that occurs when the immune system attacks its own organs, tissues, or joints. The Yale team previously found that...

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Pisa Researchers Unveil Bionic Hand with Sensory Perception

Photograph courtesy of Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna, Pisa, Italy. Researchers with the BioRobotics Institute at Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna (SSSA), Pisa, Italy, have unveiled a new, low-cost, lightweight myoelectric prosthetic hand that restores sensory perception to the user without the need for surgical intervention. The device, dubbed the MY-HAND, which stands for Myoelectric-Hand prosthesis with Afferent feedback...

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Targeting Molecules Could Help Find and Kill Cancer Cells

For all their lethality, cancer cells don’t look much different from healthy cells, a simple fact that causes endless pain and suffering. Finding cancer cells that have spread and threaten to grow into metastatic tumors is often a life-and-death matter. Now, a spinoff from the University of Wisconsin-Madison (UW-Madison) called Cellectar Biosciences is developing molecules...

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Intelligent Neuroprostheses Mimic Natural Motor Control

Users can drive this brain-controlled wheelchair reliably and safely over long periods of time thanks to the incorporation of “shared control” techniques. Photograph courtesy of José del R. Millán. José del R. Millán, PhD, a researcher at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Lausanne, Switzerland, gave a presentation at the Cognitive Neuroscience Society conference in...

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Shape-Memory Wire Performs Like Muscle in Artificial Hand

Filomena Simone, an engineer with the research team led by Professor Stefan Seelecke, is working on the prototype of the artificial hand. Photograph courtesy of Oliver Dietze. Engineers at Saarland University, Saarbrücken, Germany, have developed an artificial hand with “muscles” made of shape-memory wire, a material that returns to its original shape after it has...

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Medicare Coverage of Continuous Glucose Monitors Sought

Even though an estimated 3 million Americans are living with type 1 diabetes and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the use of continuous glucose monitors (CGMs) for patients with diabetes, Medicare will not provide coverage for these devices, which could save lives and prevent serious complications from the disease. During a recent...

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Rhythm Rally Fundraiser: Snowboarding for a Cause

Exclusive live coverage from Amplitude. Hale shreds the course. Photograph by Maggie Zawalski. The Fairplay ski run at Copper Mountain ski resort, Colorado, was closed to the public on February 2. Replacing the moguls that usually pepper the evergreen tree-flanked hill was a banked slalom, single-track snowboard course. The series of about 20 turns were...

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Northeastern Students Design ?Farm Arm?

From left, Gajewski, Walsh, Cohen, Waite, and Leydon show their farm arm capstone project. Photograph by Matthew Modoono, courtesy of Northeastern University. A group of mechanical engineering students from Northeastern University created a prosthetic arm designed to help agricultural workers with amputations operate tractors. The device was for their senior capstone design project. The prototype,...

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Prosthetic Leg Would Keep an Eye on the Path Ahead

A computer-controlled actuator operates a camera that helps a robotic ankle “see” what’s ahead. Photograph courtesy of Michigan Technological University. Mo Rastgaar, PhD, is poised to take a giant step forward in the development of prosthetic ankles. The Michigan Technological University mechanical engineer and his team have already developed a prototype that can provide a...

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Amputee Coalition Accepting Bridge to Ability Scholarship Applications

The Amputee Coalition is accepting applications for the Kathy Spozio Bridge to Ability Scholarship. The scholarship provides full conference registration as well as lodging expenses and up to $300 in reimbursement for travel expenses to give people with new amputations the opportunity to attend the Amputee Coalition’s 2015 National Conference, July 23-25, in Tucson, Arizona....

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DARPA?s HAPTIX Program Starts Work to Provide Prosthetic Hands with Sense of Touch

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) announced that it has awarded prime contracts for Phase 1 of its Hand Proprioception and Touch Interfaces (HAPTIX) program to create a prosthetic hand system that moves and provides sensation like a natural hand. DARPA is working with teams led by Case Western Reserve University (CWRU); Cleveland Clinic;...

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Experts Recommend Intermediate Physical Activity Goals, Especially for Older Adults

The recommendation that adults should get 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week may be too ambitious for many middle-aged and older adults. That’s one key recommendation from physical activity and health experts in the United States and Australia who published a paper in the British Medical Journal. While all adults, even those over the...

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Expert Says Telemedicine Could Benefit More Patients

If you haven’t already experienced telemedicine, you may soon have the option. Technology is helping people connect with their physicians in new ways and from a distance, and interest is growing in updating state and federal policies to help make telemedicine available to more patients. Mayo Clinic responded to a request from the House Energy...

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Journal?s February Issue Addresses Diabetes-Related Foot Complications

The February 2015 issue of Prosthetics and Orthotics International (POI) is devoted to the prevention and management of foot complications in people with diabetes and offers an interdisciplinary care perspective. The following is a summary of three articles that focus on pedorthic and orthotic interventions: Wound Management of Chronic Diabetic Foot Ulcers: From the Basics...

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Research Shows Smokers Aren’t Hearing Important Reason to Quit

While smokers are likely to hear dozens of reasons why they should quit – ranging from wrinkles to cancer – a new study shows that there is a major health issue that healthcare providers may not be discussing: chronic wounds. Non-healing wounds like pressure ulcers, venous leg ulcers, and diabetic foot ulcers, which affect 6.5...

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Amputee Coalition Elects Three to Board

The Amputee Coalition announced the election of three new members to its board of directors: Dale Brandon Dale, CPO, has more than 20 years of experience in O&P. He is a regional vice president for Hanger Clinic, Phoenix, were he manages business operations, business expansions, and multiple patient care clinics. He also has volunteered his...

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Research Might Help Improve Amputees? Mobility

Photograph courtesy of UNTHSC After diabetes took part of her left leg, Jackie Smith, 66, worried whether she would ever regain her mobility with a prosthetic foot that felt stiff and awkward. But her experience wearing a more technologically advanced prosthesis under the guidance of Nicoleta Bugnariu, PhD, PT, has her imagining an independent future....

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Researchers Improve Brain Control of Robotic Arm

In another demonstration of brain-computer interface (BCI) technology, a woman with quadriplegia used just her thoughts to shape the hand of a robotic arm into a grasping position. She was able to control the robotic arm with ten dimensional (10D) performance and demonstrated the ability to reach, grasp, and place a variety of objects, such...

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5 Holiday Tips for Family Caregivers

During the holiday season, caregivers can become overwhelmed by their already busy schedules. In fact, a study by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s AgeLab and AARP’s Public Policy Institute found that caregivers were more likely to report feeling stressed and worried than non-caregivers. Amy Goyer, AARP’s family and caregiving expert, addresses these challenges with helpful...

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Silicon Prosthetic Skin Detects Pressure, Heat, Moisture

The prosthetic skin attached to a prosthetic hand. Photograph courtesy of Jaemin Kim, Seoul National University, Korea. Researchers in South Korea and the United States have developed an electronic prosthetic skin made with ultrathin, stretchable silicon that can mimic the capabilities of natural skin and may one day be used on prosthetic devices. Studied on...

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Study Outlines Predictors of Lower-Limb Prosthetic Use

Using data points at four, eight, and 12 months after discharge from rehabilitation, a team of researchers from Australia conducted a retrospective and prospective cohort study that allowed them to outline predictors that cause people with lower-limb amputations to stop using prostheses. Retrospective participants were interviewed at a median of 1.9 years after rehabilitation discharge...

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Engineer Applies Robot Control Theory to Improve Prosthetic Legs

A University of Texas at Dallas (UT Dallas) professor applied robot control theory to enable powered lower-limb prostheses to dynamically respond to the user’s environment and help individuals with amputations walk. Research shows that users of the robotic leg could walk on a moving treadmill almost as fast as an able-bodied person. The paper is...

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National Disability Institute Encourages Passage of ABLE Act

On November 24, National Disability Institute (NDI) Executive Director Michael Morris issued the following statement on the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act of 2013 (H.R. 647 / S. 313): “We at NDI wanted to reaffirm our position on the need for and passage of the ABLE Act. After eight years of hard work,...

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Researchers Strive to Limit Errors in Powered Prostheses

Photograph courtesy of NC State University. Powered lower-limb prosthetic devices hold promise for improving the mobility of amputees, but errors in the technology may also cause some users to stumble or fall. New research examines exactly what happens when these technologies fail with the goal of developing a new generation of more robust powered prostheses....

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New Technology to Open Blocked Leg Arteries Could Save Amputees’ Legs and Lives

The Mount Sinai Hospital, New York, is the first in the United States to use the only FDA-approved, drug-coated balloon, the Lutonix® 035 Drug Coated Balloon (DCB) Catheter, to open blocked arteries in the leg. “I am excited to be first in providing this FDA-approved technology to our peripheral arterial disease (PAD) patients at The...

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Sandia?s Sensor-Embedded Liner Can Detect Residual Limb Changes and Adjust for Them

Researchers in the Intelligent Systems, Robotics, and Cybernetics group at Sandia National Laboratories (Sandia), Albuquerque, New Mexico, have developed a sensor that will monitor volume changes in the residual limbs of prostheses users and automatically accommodate for those changes. The researchers developed a three-axis pressure sensor, about the size of a quarter, to monitor fit...

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Artificial Hand Made to Feel Like Human Touch

A team of international researchers said that while advances have been made to make prosthetic hands and fingers look real in terms of replicating anatomical structure, skin tone, pores, and hair, they still feel artificial, and social touching for prosthetic hands has been a neglected area of research. Toward that end, the research team has...

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UT Arlington Researchers Awarded Grant to Improve Prosthetic Fit, Comfort

Image of the bubble actuator, embedded in a liner, that the UT Arlington research team is designing and building, courtesy of UT Arlington. University of Texas at Arlington (UT Arlington) researchers have been awarded a $744,300 grant from the U.S. Department of Defense Peer Reviewed Orthapaedic Research Program to create an adaptive interface that fits...

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Mind-Controlled Prosthetic Arm Reaches One-Year+ Milestone

Ortiz Catalan (left) and Brånemark (right) with the first patient treated with the osseointegrated implant system for neural control. Photographs courtesy of Max Ortiz-Catalan et al., Science Translational Medicine, 2014. In January 2013, a gentleman from Sweden who had undergone a transhumeral amputation more than ten years prior, was the first person in the world...

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