Read the latest news from the Northwestern University Prosthetics-Orthotics Center. The links below take you to articles where you can learn more about NUPOC and our recent achievements.

  • Second NU-FlexSIV Socket Course Held at NUPOC

    On August 21 and 22, 2015, the second of three hands-on workshops taught certified prosthetists how to fabricate and fit the NU-FlexSIV Socket. The Northwestern University Flexible Subischial Socket was developed by Ryan Caldwell, CP/L, FAAOP, and Stefania Fatone, PhD, BPO(Hons), with funding from the Department of Defense for the research project, Development of Subischial Prosthetic Sockets with Vacuum-Assisted Suspension for Highly Active Persons with Transfemoral Amputations. R. J. Garrick, PhD, was the NU-FlexSIV Socket Course registrar and manager. These three workshops represent the final dissemination phase of the DOD-funded research project.

    The course was fully-subscribed and attended by prosthetists from coast to coast and Canada, together with their transfemoral amputee patient models. Throughout the 2-day course, the attendees participated in didactic and hand-on activities that resulted in the fabrication, fit and alignment of a NU-FlexSIV Socket. Patient models responded positively to the comfort, range of motion and stability of the NU-FlexSIV socket. Participants reviewed comparison videos of patient models walking in their own sockets and in the NU-FlexSIV sockets.  

    The closing module of the course discussed definitive socket fabrication options. Attending prosthetists were invited to participate in a 6-month online forum where they can communicate about their fabrication experiences with the developers and other prosthetists who attended the NU-FlexSIV Socket Course. The online, interactive forum is designed to assist prosthetists in troubleshooting any issues with the implementation of the NU-FlexSIV Socket in their own facilities.

    Prosthetists who attended the NU-FlexSIV Socket course gained hands-on knowledge about the NU-FlexSIV Socket, the NU-FlexSIV Socket Manual on a USB drive, the liner that fit his/her patient model, and the check socket that they fabricated. Also, full participation in the course provided at no fee 15.5 ABC / BOC continuing education credits.

  • NUPOC Presents Biotechnology Program to NSLC Group

    NSLC students learned about biotechnology and P&O at NUPOC

    On August 11 and 12, 2015, NUPOC presented Biotechnology: High Tech, Low Tech, the Right Tech! for 70 students from the National Student Leadership Conference (NSLC). Students in the biotechnology group learned about analog and digital biometric techniques, biomechanics, gait analysis, and innovations to improve P&O fabrication and restore function. At NUPOC, the students participated in an integrated program of didactic discussions, demonstrations, Q&A, and hands-on activities.  

    Dr. Major explained important concepts in biomechanics of human gait and movement.

    Matthew Major, PhD, presented essential foundational information, The Biomechanics of Human Gait and Its Application to Prosthetic & Orthotic Devices. NSLC students learned about the gait cycle, ground reaction force, joint rotation, and biometric systems. 

    NSLC student uses a goniometer to measure his ankle range of motion   Chris Robinson, MS, CPO, MBA, ATC, FAAOP, explains how to use a goniometer   NSLC used goniometers to measure their ankle ROM  

    Chris Robinson, CPO, MS, MBA, ATC presented The Human Foot-Ankle: Anatomy, Range of Motion, and Plantar Pressure Measurement Systems. Mr. Robinson demonstrated and instructed the NSLC students how to use two reliable analog devices: the *goniometer to measure ankle range of motion and the Harris Mat to measure plantar pressure. Each student received a goniometer, contributed by Scheck and Siress, and learned how to measure ankle range of motion. 

    MPO and BME graduate students assisted the STEM program   MPO and BME graduate students assisted with the STEM program

    NUPOC MPO 2016  graduate students, Kylie Cribb, Justin Darm, Renato Delos Reyes, Kayla Fringer, Julia Fry, Ian Pulley, Abbey Smith, Jadrianna Sobczak, and BME 2016 graduate students Thomas Curran and Suzanne McConn, helped the NSLC students use Harris Mats to measure their plantar pressure, interpret the data, and learn about the biomechanics of the foot.

    NSLC students display their imprints of their plantar pressure   

    NSLC students participated in hands-on biometric activies and enjoyed comparing their static Harris Mat impressions.

    Stefania Fatone, PhD, BPO(Hons), explains clinical ramifications of foot-ankle biomechanics.

    Stefania Fatone, PhD, BPO(Hons), added biomechanical and clinical perspectives to the interpretation of plantar pressure data.

    NSLC students learn about human gait and motion analysis

    NSLC students visited the Jesse Brown VA Medical Center Motion Analysis Research Laboratory, where Rebecca Stine, MS, discussed gait analysis, human motion capture systems and other biometric techniques used in NUPOC and VA research. Angela Brown and Ian Pulley (MPO 2016) demonstrated gait and motion by walking on force plates while wearing reflective markers. Also, they answered NSLC students’ questions about prosthesis use.

    Students appreciate innovations that restore function    Dr. Wu produced an accurate model of the residual limb in about 2 minutes    NSLC students consider innovative ways to restore function

    Yeongchi Wu, MD, discussed assistive devices that can be created from common materials, such as soda bottles, to restore human function. Also, Dr. Wu introduced NSLC students to the dilatancy principle and its application to P&O fabrication, demonstrating how to use dilatancy casting to produce a biologically accurate model of a residual limb within 5 minutes. The dilatancy principle is the application of vacuum to granules contained in a flexible container to capture a 3-dimensional shape, ensuring an environmentally sustainable technology with little waste. Dr. Wu’s innovative applications inspired NSLC students to solve human problems and to improve systems to be better, cheaper, faster, and greener.

    R. J. Garrick, PhD, developed and facilitated this STEM program.

    *NUPOC sincerely appreciates Scheck and Siress for supporting this STEM program.

  • Matthew Major Presents at American Society of Biomechanics

    Matthew Major, PhD, presented at ASB meeting (2015)Matthew Major, PhD, presented “Trial-Trial Temporal Variability in Upper Limb Functional Task Performance Differentiates Amputees from Controls and Decreases with Practice” at the 39th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Biomechanics held August 5 to 8, 2015 in Columbus, OH. Dr. Major’s study, co-authored with R Stine, et al., reported on functional task performance with an upper limb myoelectric prosthesis using time warping methodology that differentiated between temporal and trajectory variability. Study 1 was validated comparing amputees and anatomically intact (AI) controls; and Study 2 reported changes in temporal and trajectory variability using a myoelectric prosthesis simulator in AI subjects.

    Study 1 was conducted at Northwestern University and Study 2 was conducted collaboratively at the University of Salford (UK). Using camera-based data, Study 1 demonstrated differences in temporal inter-trial variability between experienced users of myoelectric prostheses and controls, with respect to greater joint-level kinematic variability and reduced SHAP scores of prosthesis users, compared to controls. Study 2 demonstrated that trial-to-trial temporal variability in a carton-pouring task increases dramatically on first use of a prosthesis simulator and declines with practice. The authors suggest that clinicians can place an inexpensive accelerometer on the wrist to gather task completion time and trial-trial temporal and trajectory variability data. 

  • Stefania Fatone and Michael Dillon Awarded AOPA Research Grant for Systematic Review

    Michael Dillon, PhD, BPO(Hons)     Stefania Fatone, PhD, BPO(Hons)

    Stefania Fatone, PhD, BPO(Hons), will collaborate with Michael Dillon, PhD, BPO(Hons), (La Trobe University, Melbourne, Australia), on a newly awarded project funded by the American Orthotic and Prosthetic Association (AOPA). The project, “Evaluating Outcomes of Dysvascular Partial Foot and Transtibial Amputation: A Systematic Review and Development of Shared Decision Making Resources”, will run for one year. This project builds on Dr. Dillon’s expertise in partial foot amputation.

    Drs. Dillon and Fatone have collaborated on research in this area for more than 10 years. Former NUPOC intern Matthew Quigley, MCPO(Hons), (La Trobe University, Melbourne, Australia) will serve as a research assistant on the project. For more information about this project see Evaluating Outcomes of Dysvascular Partial Foot and Transtibial Amputation: A Systematic Review and Development of Shared Decision Making Resources.

  • First NU-FlexSIV Socket Course Held at NUPOC

    Prosthetist Shetty casts his patient Mr. Dolph for a NU-FlexSIV socket      Ryan Caldwell, CP, prepares to fit and align the NU-FlexSIV socket   

    Ryan Caldwell, CP/L (seated left), developer of the NU-FlexSIV socket, leads the group in socket fabricationThe first in a series of three hands-on workshops designed to teach certified prosthetists how to fabricate and fit the NU-FlexSIV Socket was held at NUPOC on July 31 and August 1, 2015. The Northwestern University Flexible Subischial Socket was developed by Ryan Caldwell, CP/L, FAAOP, and Stefania Fatone, PhD, BPO(Hons), with funding from the Department of Defense for the research project, Development of Subischial Prosthetic Sockets with Vacuum-Assisted Suspension for Highly Active Persons with Transfemoral Amputations.

    Participants from across the USA brought their patient models to the course where they successfully fit a NU-FlexSIV check socket. Patient models who wore and walked on the NU-FlexSIV Socket for the first time expressed delight with the comfortable socket. Each of the patient models remarked that they felt stable; had increased range of motion during ambulation; and experienced increased comfort while sitting. R. J. Garrick, PhD, was the NU-FlexSIV Socket Course registrar and manager. This series of courses constitutes the final dissemination phase of the DOD-funded research project.

    In addition to DOD funding, Medi, Őssur, the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, and NUPOC faculty and staff supported the NU-FlexSIV Socket Course.

  • Erin Boutwell, PhD, Embarks as a Medical Writer

    Erin Boutwell, PhD, begins career as medical writerErin V. Boutwell, PhD, has accepted a position as a Medical Science Writer/Editor at Education and Training Systems International (ETSI) in Chapel Hill, NC. For more than 40 years, ETSI has specialized in developing custom curricula and training programs for dozens of clients within pharmaceutical, biotech, and medical device companies. ETSI expertise serves many clinical and therapeutic disciplines and deploys innovative instructional content. 

    At ETSI, Dr. Boutwell will design customized training materials for blended learning environments within the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and medical device industries. Dr. Boutwell will support ETSI’s mission to “develop medically accurate, educationally sound content that can be deployed across a variety of platforms.” NUPOC wishes Dr. Boutwell success in her career.

  • NUPOC-IS 2015 Service Trip to Zacapa, Guatemala

    NUPOC International Service volunteers Robert Lipschutz, CP, and Larissa Conner Sletto, CPO, work to restore mobilityFrom  February 7 through February 15, 2015 NUPOC-International Service (NUPOC-IS) volunteers, led by Robert Lipschutz, CP, provided free P&O clinical services at the ROMP clinic in Zacapa, Guatemala for under-served Guatemalans who live with a physical impairment. NUPOC-IS volunteers were instructor Roberto Lopez-Rosado, DPT, and NUPOC 2015 MPO graduates Dylan Borrenpohl, Rae Figueroa, Daniel Hallisy, Haris Kafedzic, Brittany Mott, Nicole Olson, Jennie Rhodes, Brodie Rice, Nicholas Uhler, and Kathleen White. Melinda Thorpe, CPO, coordinates the annual NUPOC-IS service trip, a formal collaboration with the Range of Motion Project-Chicago (ROMP). NUPOC students have the opportunity to work internationally, make a significant difference in human lives, and enhance their clinical P&O skills under the supervision of NUPOC faculty and ROMP staff at the Kevin O’Halloran Rehabilitation Clinic in Zacapa, Guatemala.

    During a week at the Zacapa clinic, the 2015 NUPOC-IS volunteers improved the lives of many Guatemalans. Working together as a team with ROMP clinic staff, NUPOC-IS volunteers evaluated 22 patients and delivered a device to 21 of them. Twelve of the patients received their first prosthesis. Of the 22 patients, 13 had transfemoral amputation and two of those had bilateral amputations. Seven among the 22 had amputation due to accident or another trauma and 8 amputations resulted from dysvascular conditions or tumor. One individual was seen for TF prosthetic adjustment. Additionally, the NUPOC-IS volunteers fit 2 transtibial prostheses; 2 transradial prostheses; and 1 hip disarticulation prosthesis. All Guatemalan P&O clients are assured of excellent follow-up care from the staff at the ROMP clinic.

    Mr. Lipschutz recognized the significant contribution of the NUPOC-IS volunteers and thanked them for their “hard work, dedication, sacrifice and love” that they showed the patients at Zacapa. Mr. Lopez-Rosaldo expressed the unforgettable experience that he had shared with the NUPOC-IS volunteers, “I considered it an honor working side by side with you…It seemed to me that you love what you do, and you do it well.”

  • Matthew Major Participates in Student-Faculty Retreat

    Matthew Major, PhD, attended the 2015 Annual Student-Faculty Retreat as a faculty participant and served as a poster judge at the Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP) on July 10-12, 2015 in Chicago, IL and Delavan, WI. The purpose of the retreat was to welcome new MD/PhD students into the program and to allow other students to present their doctoral research. The program began in Chicago with speeches, a research poster session, and a reception. The program participants continued their presentations, reports and updates in a Wisconsin resort where they combined academic content with social opportunities that focused on information exchange and networking. 

  • Matthew Major Presents at Salford University (UK)

    Matthew Major, PhD, presented "Rehabilitation Engineering Research at the Northwestern University Prosthetics-Orthotics Center for Education and Research" at the University of Salford (Manchester, UK) on July 2, 2015. He addressed the Centre for Health Sciences Research, which includes faculty and graduate students of the School of Health Sciences, and the School of Computing, Science, and Engineering.

    Dr. Major presented an overview about the kinds of research projects that are conducted at NUPOC; and described in detail several research projects that he has been conducting at NUPOC during the past five years. His research topics covered a broad range, including a biomechanical analysis of amputee gait and the evaluation of clinically-relevant outcome measures. Following his talk, Dr. Major participated in several meetings to discuss ongoing and future collaborative projects.

  • NUPOC Presents at ISPO 2015

    Stefania Fatone, PhD, presented a symposium with colleagues Mick Dillon, PhD, Brian Hafner, PhD, and Nerrolyn Ford, PhD.NUPOC researchers Steven A. Gard, PhD, Stefania Fatone, PhD, BPO(Hons), Matthew Major, PhD, Erin Boutwell, PhD, Yeongchi Wu, MD, Ryan Caldwell, CP/L, FAAOP, and Larissa Conner Sletto, CPO, presented their findings at the International Society of Prosthetics & Orthotics Symposium on June 22 – 25, 2015 in Lyon, France. Former NUPOC Visiting Researchers Kengo Ohnishi, PhD, Felix Starker, Dipl. Ing., and Michael Dillon, PhD, also presented their work at ISPO 2015.

    Dr. Gard co-chaired “Free Papers: Prosthetics LL TF Prosthetic Knee and Foot 1”; presented “Effect of Ankle Immobilization on Able-Bodied Gait as a Model for Understanding Bilateral Amputee Gait”; and co-presented with others the symposium, “Evidence-Based Practice for Prosthetic Foot Prescription”.

    Ryan Caldwell, CP/L, FAAOP, presenting at ISPO 2015.Dr. Major presented “Prediction of Frequent Fallers Amongst Lower Limb Prosthesis Users and Effects of Mobility Aid Use on Mobility and Balance Performance” and “A Survey-Based Investigation of the Role of Outcome Measures in the Assignment of Medicare Functional Classification Level for Persons with Lower Limb Amputation”. Dr. Gard and Dr. Major co-presented “Exploring the Relationship between Lower-limb Prosthesis Mechanical Properties and User Performance for Clinical Prescription and Prosthesis Design Optimization”

    Stefania Fatone, PhD, presenting at ISPO 2015Dr. Fatone presented “Pelvic and Spinal Motion during Walking in Persons with Transfemoral Amputation with and without Low Back Pain”, “Coronal Plane Socket Stability during Gait in Persons with Transfemoral Amputation: Pilot Study”; and the poster, “Effect of Two Orthotic Approaches on Activity Level, Balance & Satisfaction in Children with Cerebral Palsy (CP)”. Dr. Fatone and Mr. Caldwell presented “Northwestern University Flexible Subischial Vacuum Socket (NU-FlexSIV)”; Dr. Fatone co-presented the symposium, “From Stable Standing to ‘Rock’n’Roll’ Walking with Prostheses and Orthoses”; and Dr. Fatone and Dr. Dillon co-presented with others the symposium, “Applications of Best Available Evidence in O&P: What Can We Learn from Systematic Reviews?”.

    Dr. Boutwell presented “Effect of Longitudinal Prosthesis Stiffness on Force Transmission during Transtibial Amputee Gait” and “Effect of Longitudinal Prosthesis Stiffness on Force Transmission during In Vivo Impact Loading”. 

    Dr. Wu presented “Dilatancy TLSO System for Fabricating Thoraco-Lumbar-Sacral Orthoses”; and the poster, “Case Report: Stump Care and Prosthetic Fitting of a Transfemoral Residual Limb with a Large Open Wound”. Ms. Conner Sletto presented “Dilatancy-based, Plaster-less System for Fabricating Ankle Foot Orthoses”.

The Childress Fund

The Childress Fund has been established with a generous gift from the Childress family to help carry forward Dudley Childress' work by stimulating interest in rehabilitation engineering for prosthetics-orthotics. Ultimately, the Fund will benefit all who are interested in P&O and especially individuals who live with physical impairments. We invite you to be part of this effort by giving generously to the Childress Fund.