Disability News Weekly Roundup – Monday, November 3 –Friday, November 7

Policy:
Justice Department monitoring disability access at polls (Disability Scoop)
The US Department of Justice sent election monitors to polling places in 18 states Tuesday in an effort to ensure that voters, including those with disabilities, would not encounter barriers to casting their ballots. Among other tasks, the monitors would assess the availability of accessible voting machines and whether people with disabilities who need assistance at the polls were able to obtain it from the person of their choice. This follows on a report from the National Council on Disability that found one in five voters with disabilities were prevented from casting their ballot independently during the 2012 election.

CMS will maintain coverage for bone-anchored and certain auditory implants (Hearing Review)
The center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released its final rule on Oct. 31, announcing that it will maintain Medicare coverage for auditory osseointegrated implants (AOIs), reversing its earlier proposal to have AOIs classified as hearing aids, thereby eliminating coverage for them. The rule finalizes that certain auditory implants, including cochlear implants, brain stem implants, and osseointegrated implants, do not meet the definition of hearing aids that are excluded from coverage.

Rehabilitation:
Steps to avoid an accident (The New York Times)
Preventing a fall, and the resulting injuries, is not simply a matter of being more careful. Those who are in better physical condition are less likely to be injured in a fall. Regular exercise classes can help, including balance drills and the practice of tai chi. Integrating balance and strength work into daily life, such as standing on one foot while brushing your teeth, can help as well. Other preventive measures discussed include taking vitamin D, reducing sleep medication, and removing tripping and slipping hazards in the home.

Bed position matters for stroke patients, report shows (HealthDay News)
Hospital bed positioning can be critical in the first 24 hours following an ischemic stroke, according to researchers at Loyola University Medical Center. Sitting upright can harm ischemic stroke patients because it decreases blood flow to the brain. However, stroke can also cause brain swelling that can damage the brain. Keeping patients sitting upright then helps improve blood drainage and reduces swelling. There are few data to guide decision making in this difficult situation, according to the researchers.

Technology:
The world’s most advanced bionic hand (Science Daily)
A prosthetic hand, which provides a sense of touch acute enough to handle an egg, has been completed and is now exploited by the NEBIAS (NEurocontrolled BIdirectional Artificial upper limb and hand prosthesiS) project. The hand was tested with the help of an amputee who was able to grasp objects intuitively and identify what he was touching while blindfolded.

How 3D technology could ‘unlock’ cities for blind people (The Telegraph – London, UK)
A new 3D audio navigation system could help blind and visually impaired people explore cities independently. Known as Cities Unlocked, the technology, developed by Microsoft, Guide Dogs, and the UK government’s Future Cities Catapult, takes the form of a smart headset paired with a Windows Phone app which has been designed for people with vision loss. A user could select a destination using their smartphone and the headset would provide audio cues to help them get there.

Noviosense eye glucometer may get rid of finger pricks for diabetics (Medgadget)
Having to draw blood from a finger to test for glucose levels is the primary reason many diabetics fail to keep a close watch on their sugar. NovioSense has received a patent for a tiny device that is placed in the eye to continuously measure sugar level in tears. The device is initially expected to be worn for two-week periods, during which a soft coating absorbs tears and swells to keep the device situated comfortably.

South Dakota startup raises $1M for its “eyegraine” system that treats vision-related migraines (MedCityNews.com)
A new-found class of migraines called eyeGraines is caused by a misalignment between the eyes when viewing an object, resulting in the overstimulation of brain nerves. Startup company EyeBrain Medical has created a system that calculates and maps the imbalance between the eyes and brain. The company then created NeuroLenses, prescription glasses that are designed correct these imbalances.

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