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E-Whiskers Could Have Prosthetic Application

Heating the polymer allowed the e-whiskers to rise and become three-dimensional. Photograph courtesy of UT Dallas. Researchers at the University of Texas at Dallas (UT Dallas) have developed artificial, electronic whiskers that they believe are a significant step toward engineering electronic human skin and to providing sensory information to prosthetic limbs. The work is described in...

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Electronic Skin Allows Prosthetic Hands to Touch, Feel Pain

A team of engineers at Johns Hopkins University has created an electronic skin that will enable individuals with amputations to perceive the sense of touch and pain through prosthetic fingertips. When layered on top of prosthetic hands, the electronic skin, or e-dermis, brings back a real sense of touch through the fingertips, said Luke Osborn,...

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New Technology Could Make Prosthetic Hands Easier to Use

Researchers placed EMG sensors on the forearms of able-bodied volunteers, tracking neuromuscular signals as they performed various actions. Photograph courtesy of NC State University. Researchers in the joint biomedical engineering program at North Carolina State University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have developed technology that can decode neuromuscular signals to control...

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Artificial Nerve System Could Give Prostheses a Sense of Touch

Researchers at Stanford University and Seoul National University, Korea, have developed an artificial sensory nerve system that can activate the twitch reflex in a cockroach as well as identify letters in the Braille alphabet. The work, published May 31 in Science, is a step toward creating artificial skin and restoring sensation to people who use...

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Online Physician Reviews May Be Misleading

Physician satisfaction scores on online third-party review sites tend to be skewed and can easily mislead patients, according to a new study by Cedars-Sinai investigators.   Since research shows that patients largely trust these ratings as their sole source of information when choosing a physician, this distortion may have significant consequences.   “Patients put so...

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Losing Your Nest Egg Can Kill You

A sudden loss of net worth in middle or older age is associated with a significantly higher risk of death, according to a Northwestern Medicine and University of Michigan study. Image vulp/shutterstock.com. When people lose 75 percent or more of their total wealth during a two-year period, they are 50 percent more likely to die...

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PTSD Therapies Offer Long-term Benefits

Civilians and military veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) reap long-term benefits from psychotherapies used for short-term treatment, according to a study from Case Western Reserve University (CWRU). The findings suggest effective and lasting approaches for symptoms of PTSD—a typically chronic disorder that rarely diminishes spontaneously and is associated with significant distress, impairment, and economic...

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Study Suggests Cancer Survivors Are More Easily Fatigued

Adults who have undergone successful cancer treatment years or decades ago become fatigued more quickly than their peers who don’t have cancer histories, according to a new study in the journal Cancer from scientists at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health (JHSPH). The scientists examined data from a long-running study of normal aging, which included periodic...

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Weight Training May Beat Cardio for Many Older Adults

Weight training or cardio? For older adults trying to slim down, pumping iron might be the way to go. Photograph courtesy of WFU/Ken Bennett. A study by researchers at Wake Forest University (WFU) suggests combining weight training with a low-calorie diet preserves much needed lean muscle mass that can be lost through aerobic workouts. The...

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Medical Note System May Boost Patient Engagement

Adding notes to their personal medical charts—a task typically handled only by medical professionals—may help patients feel more involved with their care and improve relationships with their doctors, a study has found. In research published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, doctors at University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) Health and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical...

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Walking in Groups May Help Keep Exercise Goals on Track

People may be more likely to stick to exercise if they walk in groups, according to a paper published in the International Journal of Technology Assessment in Health Care. The research, led by Anglia Ruskin University (ARU), also found that group walking plays a part in improved physical activity and better quality of life. The review...

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Case Study: Body-powered Devices Help With Physically Demanding Work

An open-access case study, published January 3 in the Journal of NeuroEngineering and Rehabilitation, addressed the prosthetic needs of a forensic pathologist who has a unilateral transradial amputation. The case study participant and first author, Wolf Schweitzer, MD, noted that forensic medicine is a physically demanding work environment even for people without disabilities; therefore, a prosthesis user requires...

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Retail Drug Prices Increase More Than 50 Times Faster Than Inflation

Retail prices for 768 prescription drugs commonly used by older adults increased by an average of 6.4 percent in 2015, outpacing the general inflation rate of 0.1 percent. This is at least the 12th straight year of substantial retail price increases for prescription drugs, according to the latest in a series of AARP Public Policy...

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Art Therapy Much More Potent Than Coloring Books

Although adult coloring books can reduce stress and are often advertised as art therapy, art therapists contend that such a claim is misleading—that true art therapy is about growth and relationships and not simply about feeling better. Girija Kaimal, EdD, assistant professor in Drexel University’s College of Nursing and Health Professions, led a study that...

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Getting Patients to Share Their Electronic Health Records

Education is the key to getting patients to share their medical records electronically with healthcare providers, according to a study from the University at Buffalo (UB) School of Management. Published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research, the study found that while patient education has typically focused on the benefits of electronic records, privacy concerns keep...

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Study Provides New Insight Into Patients? Healing Journeys

While substantial research has established the importance of doctor-patient relationships in facilitating the healing process, few studies have explored patients’ broader experience of healing and how it can be fostered outside the medical system. A new study, published online in BMJ Open, sheds light on the complex progression from illness to healing, which the authors...

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Few Healthcare Consumers Price Shop, Studies Show

Americans extol price shopping for healthcare, yet few actually do it when given the means to, according to the findings of two studies led by investigators at Harvard Medical School (HMS). Shutterstock.com.   Results of the analyses, published in the August issue of Health Affairs, cast doubt on the increasingly popular notion that empowering consumers...

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Prosthetic Knee Type May Impact Cost of Care

Despite growing data that more advanced technology reduces falls and improves physical capabilities among patients with transfemoral amputations, patients with lower K-levels are usually ineligible for a microprocessor knee. Access to improved knee technology can help patients become more agile, more balanced, and less likely to fall; without access to such technology, they may become...

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New Surgical Procedure May Make Prostheses Feel More Natural

A new surgical technique devised by Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) researchers could allow prosthetic limbs to feel more like natural limbs. Through coordination of the patient’s prosthetic limb, existing nerves, and muscle grafts, people with amputations would be able to sense where their limbs are in space and to feel how much force is...

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Stretching May Reduce Walking Pain in PAD Patients

Simple calf muscle stretching may reduce leg pain when walking and increase blood flow for people with peripheral artery disease (PAD), according to researchers.   PAD, which can lead to amputation, affects more than 8.5 million  adults in the United States and many are unaware they have it. The most common symptom in the lower...

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Diabetes App Forecasts Blood Sugar Levels

Columbia University researchers have developed a personalized algorithm that predicts the impact of particular foods on an individual’s blood sugar levels. The algorithm has been integrated into an app, Glucoracle, that will allow individuals with type 2 diabetes to keep a tighter rein on their glucose levels-the key to preventing or controlling major complications of...

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Crowdfunding for Medical Bills Not a Cure-all

Crowdfunding campaigns to pay for medical costs have become a booming industry in recent years, with sites like GoFundMe raising billions of dollars for Americans struggling to pay medical bills. But most of those campaigns do not reach their financial goals, according to new research from the University of Washington (UW). A study published in...

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To Exercise More, Get a Gym Membership

Image by Iowa State University. If your New Year’s resolution was to exercise more in 2017, chances are you’ve already given up or you’re on the verge of doing so. To reach your goal, you may want to consider joining a gym, based on the results of a study from a team of Iowa State...

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Study Finds That Yoga Can Be Helpful for Low Back Pain

About 80 percent of Americans will suffer from back pain at one time or another. A recent study found that more than a third of adults say that low back pain has affected their ability to perform the tasks of daily living, exercise, or sleep. Treating this pain, which is a common complaint for lower-limb...

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Many Patients Face Surprise Medical Bills

Anesthesiologists, emergency physicians, pathologists, and radiologists often charge more than 4 times what Medicare pays for similar services, which may leave privately insured consumers with surprise medical bills that are much higher than they anticipated, research in JAMA suggests. The problem is that most patients do not actually choose these doctors with the highest markups,...

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Many Insured Under ACA Miss Opportunities for Financial Assistance

A survey conducted by investigators at the Mongan Institute Health Policy Center at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) found that almost one-third of Californians enrolling in individual insurance plans offered under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in 2014 potentially missed opportunities to receive financial assistance with premium payments, out-of-pocket costs, or both. In a report published...

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Research Offers Hope for Better Diabetic Wound Healing

People with diabetes often contend with wounds that heal poorly and can sometimes lead to amputation. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Biology of Ageing, the CECAD Excellence Cluster, and the Institute for Genetics of the University of Cologne have gained fresh insight into the underlying cellular mechanisms. It had previously been assumed that...

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Senses Get Under Robot?s Skin

A doctoral student shakes hands with an optoelectronically innervated prosthesis. Photograph by Huichan Zhao, courtesy of Cornell. Most robots achieve grasping and tactile sensing through motorized means, which can be bulky and rigid. A group at Cornell University has devised a way for a soft robot to feel its surroundings internally, in much the same...

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Worms Key to Unlocking Limb Regeneration in Humans

An intact, live acorn worm. The head is on the far left. Photograph by Shawn Luttrell, courtesy of the University of Washington. Acorn worms can regrow every major body part-including the head, nervous system, and internal organs-from nothing after being sliced in half. If scientists can unlock the genetic network responsible for this feat, they...

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Cognitive Therapy Relieves PTSD for Many

Although both group and individual therapy can ease post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms in active-duty military service members, individual therapy relieved PTSD symptoms better and quicker, according to a study led by a Duke University School of Medicine researcher. The randomized clinical trial is the largest to examine an evidence-based treatment for active-duty military service...

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Poverty, Black Race Are Predictive of PAD-related Amputation Risk

Peripheral artery disease (PAD) occurs when fat, cholesterol, and other substances accumulate in blood vessels away from the heart, restricting blood flow. In addition to increasing the risk for heart attack and stroke, untreated PAD can cause gangrene, which can lead to amputation. Preliminary research presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2016 indicates...

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Insulin Resistance Reversed by Removal of Protein

By removing the protein galectin-3 (Gal3), a team of investigators led by University of California (UC) School of Medicine researchers were able to reverse diabetic insulin resistance and glucose intolerance in obesity and diabetes mouse models. By binding to insulin receptors on cells, Gal3 prevents insulin from attaching to the receptors resulting in cellular insulin...

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Noninvasive Blood Glucose Monitoring Device in Development

People with diabetes are one step closer to more easily checking their blood glucose levels with a noninvasive device for detecting and monitoring blood glucose levels currently in development. The handheld breathalyzer device detects acetone, which has been linked to high blood glucose levels in the breath. As many as 67 percent of people with...

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Brain Surface Stimulation Provides ?Touch? Feedback

The BBCIs being developed at CSNE can both record from and stimulate the nervous system. They would also allow the brain to directly control prostheses or other external devices to enhance movement or reanimate paralyzed limbs. Graphic courtesy of the Center for Sensorimotor Neural Engineering. The brain needs information from a fingertip, limb, or external...

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Study Finds Knowingly Taking Fake Pills Eases Pain

Ted Kaptchuk. Image courtesy of BIDMC. Conventional medical wisdom has long held that placebo effects depend on patients’ belief they are getting active medication. A paper published in the journal Pain demonstrates that even patients who knowingly took a placebo, or inactive pill, in conjunction with traditional treatment for lower back pain saw more improvement...

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Memristors: Missing Link in Brain-to-Prosthesis Communication?

Photograph of the memristor chip courtesy of the University of Southampton. Monitoring neuronal cell activity is fundamental to neuroscience and the development of neuroprosthetics. New research, led by the University of Southampton, England, has demonstrated that a nanoscale device, called a memristor, could be the missing link in the development of implants that use electrical...

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Shape-shifting Fibers May ?Muscle? Prostheses

UT Dallas scientists produced the fibers in this woven textile by highly twisting nylon sewing thread to produce coiled artificial muscles. Photograph courtesy of UT Dallas. Researchers at The University of Texas at Dallas (UT Dallas) and the University of Wollongong, Australia, have put a high-tech twist on fiber spinning, using modern materials to create...

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Can Telemedicine Help Prevent Diabetes-related Blindness?

Research by Maria Woodward, MD, examines patient attitudes about telemedicine and remote eye exams. Image courtesy of U-M Kellogg Eye Center. Virtual collaborations with ophthalmologists may one day prevent the top cause of new blindness in the United States. After a nationwide telemedicine diabetic screening program in England and Wales, diabetic retinopathy is no longer...

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Acupuncture May Provide Low-risk Pain Relief for Children

Acupuncture may be a viable low-risk, nontoxic option for pain management for pediatric patients who have complex medical conditions, according to new research published by Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare. Many patients who have complex medical conditions experience chronic pain. As a result, they are often medicated with drugs that can make them sleepy, cause weight...

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Prescriptions More Affordable After Policy Changes

Washington State University (WSU) researchers have seen significant increases in the number of Americans who can afford to fill prescriptions following implementation of the 2003 Medicare Modernization Act and the 2010 Affordable Care Act (ACA). Jae Kennedy, professor and chair of the Department of Health Policy and Administration at WSU’s College of Nursing, led the...

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One in Three Former ICU Patients Shows Symptoms of Depression

A meta-analysis of reports on more than 4,000 patients suggests that almost one in three people discharged from hospital intensive care units (ICUs) has clinically important and persistent symptoms of depression, according to researchers at Johns Hopkins Medicine (JHM). In some patients, the symptoms can last for a year or more, and they are notably...

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App Helps Distract Kids During Painful Medical Procedures

The Distraction in Action app offers parents tips about how to help their child through a medical procedure. Image by Tim Schoon. Sometimes painful medical procedures are necessary for children, but that doesn’t make them any less traumatizing for the patients or their parents. Researchers at University of Iowa (UI) Children’s Hospital and the UI...

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Brain Stimulation Technique Shown Effective for Phantom Limb Pain

A new study, published in The Journal of Pain, shows that transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) administered to the scalp can stimulate the brain and provide significant reductions in phantom limb pain (PLP). A team of researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital and Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital evaluated the benefits of the method in 54 patients. They compared...

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New Book Offers Strategies for Caregivers

Image courtesy of AARP. Family caregiving has its challenges: emotional overload, time constraints, anxiety, burnout, missed work, adult sibling conflicts, and marital issues. But providing care for a loved one can also be enriching. AARP Meditations for Caregivers: Practical, Emotional, and Spiritual Support for You and Your Family offers family caregivers tips and guidance on...

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Amputee Explains Why and How People With Disabilities Often Exceed Expectations

Image courtesy of Laurent Qy Photography. In a recent TEDx Talk in Paris, Jothy Rosenberg, a two-time cancer survivor, amputee, and founder of the Who Says I Can’t Foundation, explains his theory about why and how a disproportionate percentage of people with physical disabilities go beyond their supposed limitations and thrive in life. Using his...

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