Saturday, June 28, 2008

Softball player inspires

From the Webster Post (NY):

...Sakina, 18, was born with a congenital defect to her left arm. She has to wear a prosthetic to play softball and do other activities.

Despite the physical disability, she doesn’t find playing sports all that hard.“I think it was just natural, I guess,” Sakina said. “My dad taught me how to throw. I use my prosthesis to bat...”

Friday, June 27, 2008

Military support helps produce next generation prosthetics

From the Christian Science Monitor:

Although Hugh Herr was a respected professor at Harvard Medical School, he says finding someone to bankroll a new prosthetic knee project was tough before the Iraq war. He could get funding from the prosthetic industry, but government sources showed little interest.

But a year and a half after the invasion of Iraq, the tides turned. The United States Department of Veterans Affairs provided the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and several other institutions with $7.2 million to study artificial arms and legs for amputees. The money, along with key technological innovations, has helped Dr. Herr, now an associate professor at the MIT Media Lab, create a powered ankle and knee, the next generation of prosthetics...

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Limb Difference Web Round-up: Young Amputees Demand the Best

A collection of limb difference related news from around the web:

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Holt-Oram Syndrome doesn't stop equestrian from chasing Olympic dreams

From the Bexley Times:

...Since the age of two Emma has attended the centre and she won her first competition representing Great Britain aged 16.

The riding centre has been given approved status as a pre-training venue for able-bodied athletes ahead of the London 2012 Olympics...

Update: Horse grant boost for paralympic hope

Saturday, June 21, 2008

A more natural prosthetic foot

Popular Science features inventor Jeremy Rifkin's advanced foot prosthetic. (Via medGadget)

...Working by night in a Boulder, Colorado, cabin, Rifkin built something that combined the natural step of a bionic foot with the simplicity and low cost of a mechanical prosthetic...

...Rifkin’s main concern now is with durability; a spring keeps popping, mostly because he nicks and weakens its cables during the amputee fittings. “If he can work out the durability issues,” says Stanford University prosthetist Gary Berke, “then it could be excellent for the active adult who wants to walk through the city or hike in the park.” As for Link, he’s moving on to tougher terrain. “It’s so natural, I can walk on a golf course.”
Click here to view a video of the foot in action.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Shriners Hospital Video

Shriners Hospital is featuring a version of this video in their latest fundraising email. It's well worth the watch to see the difference the organization is making in the lives of children with rare conditions like Leigh.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Amputees fight caps in coverage for prosthetics

From the Associated Press...

After bone cancer forced the amputation of her right leg below the knee, Eileen Casey got even more bad news: Her insurer told her that she had spent her $10,000 lifetime coverage limit on her temporary limb and that the company wouldn't pay for a permanent one.

"It was shocking to find out I was going to have to take out a loan to buy myself a leg so I could keep working and living independently," Casey said. At the bank, she said, she burst into tears when they asked what the loan was for.

Since then, Casey has joined a nationwide fight by amputees and the prosthetics industry to get the states and Congress to require fuller coverage for artificial limbs. The insurance industry is fighting the effort, saying such mandates drive up costs and reduce the flexibility customers want...

...Simple prosthetic limbs range in cost from about $3,000 to $15,000. Those that are more mechanically advanced, or come with embedded computer chips, can cost up to $40,000. Expenses can grow further because many patients need new artificial limbs or sockets when the stump to which the prosthetic is attached shrinks or otherwise changes shape. This is especially a problem in children...

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Womb surgery 'saves baby's leg'

From BBC News...

Australian surgeons saved the leg of an unborn baby by operating when her mother was just 22 weeks pregnant.

The surgery was carried out after the foetus developed a rare condition in which stray bands of tissue wrap around limbs and cut off blood flow.

Melbourne's Monash Medical Centre used lasers to cut away the tissue from the left leg, but left the right leg as the bands were too deeply embedded.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Bionic hand wins top tech prize

From BBC News...

The world's most advanced, commercially available, bionic hand has won the UK's top engineering prize. The i-LIMB, a prosthetic device with five ndividually powered digits, beat three other finalists to win this year's MacRobert award...

...The complex device finally went on sale in July 2007. It is produced by a company called Touch Bionics based in Mid Calder, Livingston. "It's such a fantastic invention," Ray Edwards, a quadruple amputee and one of the first people in the UK to be fitted with the device, told BBC News. "When the arm was put on, I had tears rolling down my face. It was the first time in 21 years that I had seen a hand open. "I can do a thumbs-up, I can hold a pen and I can do many things that I ouldn't do before..."

...The firm is now looking to improve the design of the i-Limb as well as expanding its range of smart prosthetics. "We are working a full-arm system - we have a prototype wrist, elbow and shoulder," said Mr. (Stuart) Mead.

i-Limb Hand Interview

The One Handed Blogger is interviewed about the i-Limb...