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.
- Introducing Xinru Chen, BS10/19/2016
Xinru Chen, BS, has joined NUPOC to conduct research in partial fulfillment of her Master’s degree in Biomedical Engineering (BME). Steven A. Gard, PhD, will guide Ms. Chen in her research on optimization of prosthetic foot and ankle stiffness to approximate able-bodied gait. Using mechanical testing, Ms. Chen’s project proposes systematic changes to foot-ankle stiffness to determine an optimum stiffness for biomimetic gait. She expects to complete her thesis work by May 2017. (Learn more about this Department of Veterans Affairs-funded research project: Optimization of Prosthetic Foot and Ankle Stiffness for Standing and Walking.)
Ms. Chen graduated with a BS in Molecular Biomedical Sciences with first class honors and a minor in Information Technology (Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, 2012). She matriculated to Northwestern University for her graduate work, initially in Interdepartmental Neuroscience. She transferred to BME where she foresees that work in prosthetics can be more immediately applied to produce positive, tangible outcomes. She said, “I planned a graduate career in molecular neuroscience looking at individual cells. But I wanted to move up to a broader system level. I recognized that I wanted my work to be more clinically relevant to real people, not mice. That’s why I shifted my emphasis to BME and prosthetics research.”
In microbiology and neuroscience, Ms. Chen has participated in a range of mentored and team research projects that include: analysis of synaptic organization; programing custom MATLAB® scripts to control and analyze electrophysiology experiments; optimizing a biochemical assay for quantification of total Amyloid β-derived synaptogenesis and PTEN-regulated axonal growth of retinal ganglion cells; and examination of the expression pattern and function of a gene expected to have a developmental role in C. Elegans. She contributed to the Silver Medal team in the International Genetically Engineered Machine Competition (iGEM, 2009), and has presented podium talks and research posters. She enjoys teaching and has volunteered as an instructor for hands-on science sessions and conversational Mandarin.
Her passion for science and engineering may have been natural outgrowths of exposure to her parents’ careers in computer science, civil engineering, physics and biology. Interested in theories and reasons, Ms. Chen frequently visited her mother’s office where she observed her mother’s civil engineering projects and appreciated their impact on people and the society.
Ms. Chen enjoyed being an exchange student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and said, “The winter weather was interesting.” In her free time, she enjoys kayaking, paddle boarding, and biking with her friends. Currently, she is considering various options and has not yet decided on her course after completing her Master’s degree.
- Stefania Fatone Presents Symposium in Denmark10/13/2016
Stefania Fatone, PhD, BPO(Hons), presented a continuing education symposium on “Evidence Based Orthotic Management after Stroke” at ORTOS (Brøndby, Denmark). ORTOS has locations in seven cities throughout Denmark and the half-day symposium was attended by 30 physical and occupational therapists from the Copenhagen area. Dr. Fatone discussed the sequelae of brain hemorrhage and blood clot and detailed the appropriate orthotic treatment of stroke. Dr. Fatone also examined the immediate post-stroke biomechanical effects of using a prescribed AFO; the optimum design of an AFO for the restoration of gait; and strategies to maximize walking speed, stride length, and stability.
- Fatone and Caldwell Teach NU-FlexSIV Socket Course in Denmark10/11/2016
By invitation, Stefania Fatone, PhD, BPO(Hons), and Ryan Caldwell, CP, FAAOP, taught the NU-FlexSIV Socket Course for ten experienced prosthetists at ORTOS, in Brøndby, Denmark. The prosthetists were accompanied by their patient models with transfemoral amputation and participated in the hands-on 2-day course that consisted of conceptual lectures, demonstrations, casting, fabrication, rectification, fitting, alignments, and comparative videos of the patient models walking in their original socket and then in the NU-FlexSIV socket.
Didactic modules provided an Introduction to Subischial Socket and Vacuum Technology, The Development of the NU-FlexSIV Socket, Discussion of Definitive Socket Fabrication Options, Final Troubleshooting, and Q&A. The participating prosthetists and their patient models responded positively to the Course and the NU-FlexSIV Socket.
- Stefania Fatone Presents Keynote Lecture at ISPO Europe10/06/2016
Stefania Fatone, PhD, BPO(Hons), delivered a Keynote Lecture, “The Final Frontier: Developments in Transfemoral Sockets”, at the ISPO European Congress on Prosthetics and Orthotics in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, on October 6, 2016. The following day, Dr. Fatone also presented “Stakeholder Input on the Development of a Residual Limb Monitoring System”, co-authored by Lilly Tran, Ryan Caldwell, and Matthew Quigley.
Dick Plettenburg, PhD, (See photo) organized the congress program and extended an invitation to Dr. Fatone to present a keynote lecture. Dr. Plettenburg is professor at the biomechanical engineering department of the Delft University of Technology. His research interests include the design of upper limb prostheses.
The ISPO Congress was held aboard the SS Rotterdam, a permanently moored transatlantic ocean liner, now a hotel and museum. Most Congress presenters attended from the host country The Netherlands, and EU countries including Germany, the UK, Spain, Sweden, and Italy, but also from as far away as Iran, Korea and Singapore. The 2-day scientific program featured keynotes on technology and philosophy and free papers that examined both comprehensive and highly specialized areas in P&O. Off-site programs offered visits to the Human-Machine Interaction Lab at Delft University of Technology, the Wittepoel Orthopedisch Schoentechniek, as well as guided jogs and tours of Rotterdam and its architecture.
- NUPOC Partners with NCOPE for Health Professions Week10/02/2016
NUPOC collaborated with the National Commission on Orthotics & Prosthetics Education (NCOPE) to participate in Health Professions Week (HPW). The week-long initiative educated students about opportunities in Prosthetics & Orthotics (P&O) and 18 other allied health disciplines. HPW provided interactive opportunities to explore allied health education programs, talk directly with health care practitioners, and learn about educational requirements for each allied health career.
NUPOC offered online resources, including person-to-person conversations about how to prepare for a P&O career that included shadowing a CPO, volunteering at a P&O facility, requirements in undergraduate and graduate degree programs, resident training, and certification. NUPOC educators who interfaced as Chat Leaders with inquiring HPW students were Anna Avakian-Li, CPO, John W. Michael, MEd, CPO, and Melinda Thorpe, CPO. NUPOC representatives who participate in the ongoing “Talk to an O&P Professional in Illinois” are John Brinkmann, MA, CPO, FAAOP(D), John W. Michael, MEd, CPO, and Chris Robinson, CPO, MS, MBA, ATC, FAAOP(D). R. J. Garrick, PhD, led the outreach activities and facilitated the collaboration with NCOPE.
- NU-FlexSIV Socket Featured in Industry Review10/01/2016
The article, NUPOC Launches the NU-FlexSIV Socket, is featured as an Industry Review in the October print issue of The O and P Edge (October, 2016:10), or access it on page 10 of The O and P Edge online flip format. NUPOC Launches the NU-FlexSIV Socket also appeared in the Hot Off the Press section of the oandp.com (August 25, 2016).
Work on the DOD-funded research project, Development of Subischial Prosthetic Sockets with Vacuum-Assisted Suspension for Highly Active Persons with Transfemoral Amputations, has been completed; and a related research project, Functional Performance Evaluation of the Northwestern University Flexible Sub-Ischial Vacuum (NU-FlexSIV) Socket for Persons with Transfemoral Amputation, is currently underway to develop evidence-based data about NU-FlexSIV Socket comfort, functional performance and patient-reported satisfaction.
- Donaldson Exhibit Opens at NUPOC09/26/2016
At NUPOC science, technology, and art intersect. In recognition of the artistry that is vital to prosthetics and orthotics, NUPOC is delighted to announce the installation and exhibition of five abstract acrylic paintings by Jane Donaldson. Ms. Donaldson trained with artists Tim James and Katherine Hilden. She is a member of the Evanston Art Center and lives in Wilmette, IL.
Artists and Certified Prosthetist-Orthotists (CPO) cultivate similar skills. A maxim holds that a good prosthetist-orthotist needs the triumvirate of “head, heart, and hands”. Superior cognitive ability, compassion, and hand skills enable CPOs to serve their patients well. As scientists and clinicians, CPOs are rigorously trained in human anatomy, biomechanics, behavioral sciences, professional issues, practice management, and independent research. To fabricate functional, comfortable, intimately fitting prostheses and orthoses, CPOs also employ a creative artistry that bridges science and technology.
NUPOC appreciates Jane Donaldson for making this exhibit possible.
- NUPOC Welcomes Jessica Yohay, Research Technologist09/23/2016
Jessica Yohay, BS, has joined NUPOC as a Research Technologist. Ms. Yohay graduated with a BS in Biomedical Engineering, foci in biosignals and systems (University of Rochester, 2014). She has worked as a research assistant who interacted with stroke patients and managed multiple aspects of IRB studies; and as a research contractor who extracted cadaver limbs and muscles, attached sensors, and analyzed data in multi-trial experiments. Ms. Yohay brings in-depth knowledge and experience of IRB processes. When not working, Ms. Yohay enjoys overseas travel, annual jaunts to Western states for skiing, and daily walks with her canine comrade.
- NUPOC Presents Comprehensive Course for Physicians and Therapists09/20/2016
Fifty-five physicians and therapists attended NUPOC’s 2016 continuing education course, “Lower and Upper Limb Orthotics and Prosthetics for Physicians and Therapists”. This year registrants were 33 Medical Doctors, 13 Doctors of Osteopathic Medicine, and 9 Physical Therapists, who represented ten states, both coasts, and Canada. Annually, this course earns high marks in attendee evaluations. The four-day program combined didactic lectures and live patient demonstrations that illustrated fundamental principles of prosthetic and orthotic (P&O) management of pre- and post-amputation care, biomechanics of human locomotion, prosthetic management of upper limb, partial foot, transtibial, transfemoral and hip disarticulation, orthotic management of knee, ankle, foot, and spine.
Pre-eminent P&O educators, clinicians, and researchers presented intensive modules. Specialists included Christopher Reger, MD, Steven Kodros, MD, Anis Mekhail, MD, Stefania Fatone, PhD, BPO(Hons), John Michael, MEd, CPO, FAAOP, Chris Robinson, MS, MBA, CPO, ATC, FAAOP(D), John Brinkmann, CPO, FAAOP(D), Bryan Malas, CO, MHPE, Nicole Soltys, CP, Kristi Turner, OTR, Katherine Martinez, PT, and David Speers, CPO.
Annually, this course is fully subscribed and earns high marks from attendees' evaluations. Mr. Robinson develops and manages this academic program with the support of others at NUPOC.
- Improving Clinical Practice and QOL for Lower Limb Amputees09/19/2016
Research conducted by Allen Heinemann, PhD, and Stefania Fatone, PhD, BPO(Hons), Enhancing Quality of Prosthetic and Orthotic Services with Process and Outcome Information, is in the news as a professional publication and again as the focus of an interview. The study investigates whether external facilitation of activities can improve Quality of Life (QOL) for lower limb amputees. The interview, “External Facilitation Could Aid Clinics’ Quality Improvement Measures” (O&P News, Fall 2016) is based on a recently published article of the same title (Heinemann A, Ehrlich-Jones L, Connelly L, Semik P and Fatone S (2016) Enhancing Quality of Prosthetic Services with Process and Outcome Information. Prosthetics and Orthotics International 1-7. DOI: 10.1177/0309364616637957).
At participating clinics, patients who were prescribed a new prosthesis or a socket replacement completed the Orthotics Prosthetics Users’ Survey (OPUS) three separate times. Clinical staff identified and developed an action plan for lower limb issues that could be addressed, improved, and measured during the course of a year, after which time clinic staff concluded their external facilitation and evaluated the quality improvement programs that they had incorporated into routine operations. Feedback from the prosthetics clinics indicated that “clinicians understood the importance of monitoring patient progress and found the combination of function, quality of life, and satisfaction with device and services to be unique and valuable information.”
This reesearch was conducted as a development project of the Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center for Prosthetics and Orthotics (2008-2013), funded by the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR).
The Childress Fund
Established with a generous gift from the Childress family, the Childress Fund accepts donations that help to continue Dudley Childress' work by stimulating interest in rehabilitation engineering for Prosthetics-Orthotics.
The Childress Fund benefits all who are interested in P&O and especially individuals who live with physical impairments. We invite you to be part of this ongoing effort by giving generously to the Dudley S. Childress, PhD, Research and Education Fund.