Belgian researchers have found that the intestinal microbe Akkermansia muciniphila can help produce mucus that protects the lining of the gut, thereby reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes and other metabolic disorders associated with obesity. The microbe also increased levels of molecules that control insulin sensitivity, inflammation and fat and energy metabolism. The study was published in PNAS.
AOPA has filed suit against the CMS over auditing activities it called "unfair," claiming the Office of Inspector General falsely alleged fraud in the O&P industry. AOPA claims an OIG report disregarded technological advances in the field and misunderstood the relationship between the prosthetist and the patient. "[W]e will not stand by when government acts inappropriately to threaten either the quality of care we provide to our patients or the economic viability of the small businesses and providers that comprise the orthotics and prosthetics profession," said AOPA President Thomas Kirk.
A new Detroit business startup, Advanced Amputee Solutions, is developing a polymer that can be applied during amputation surgery to cushion the cut bone and seal the bone marrow. Prosthetist Gordon Maniere, who co-founded the company, hopes this will address the challenge of fitting a rigid prosthesis to the shape of a daily-changing residual limb. "That's the biggest problem because the amputee won't wear the prosthetic if it causes pain," he said.
Scientists at Stanford University are working on developing a sense of touch for artificial skin. Researcher Zhenan Bao and her colleagues have created a transistor made of a flexible polymer semiconductor, which transmits the signal from a sensitive pressure sensor. "To actually make artificial skin, we still need to be able to connect the sensors with neurosystems, so that the sensor signal can be transmitted to the human brain," Bao said. The study was published in the journal Nature Communications.
Scientists at the University of California-Los Angeles have found a way to stabilize basic fibroblast growth factor, a naturally occurring agent for healing wounds, that could be used to treat tenacious ulcers such as those caused by diabetes. The ability to stabilize the growth factor means that bGFG can retain its effectiveness outside the body, where it normally loses much of its effectiveness.