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UVMC adding robot-assisted surgery Upper Valley Medical Center will introduce robot-assisted surgery to the Miami County area with the addition of a da Vinci® Si™ surgical system to the UVMC surgery department in November. The new system provides sophisticated robotic technology and offers a minimally invasive option for certain types of surgery. It will be the only robotic surgery unit between Dayton and Lima. “This technologic investment demonstrates UVMC’s commitment to provide our community access to advancements in minimally invasive surgery,” said Rowan R. Nichol, M.D., chair of the UVMC Board of Directors, and retired surgeon. “We are excited about the addition of this surgical technology,” said Tom Parker, UVMC president and CEO. “Our partner hospitals in Premier Health have been key in assisting with this important addition, sharing their experience in robotic surgery to help make this

possible.” “As in all areas our goal is to provide effective, efficient treatment options that offer the best possible outcomes for our patients,” Parker added. With the new robotic system, small incisions are used to insert miniaturized wristed instruments and a high-definition 3D camera. Seated at the system console, the surgeon views a magnified, high-resolution, 3D image of the surgical site inside the body. At the same time, the robotic and computer technologies scale, filter and translate the surgeon’s hand movements into precise micro-movements of the system’s instruments. Among the clinical benefits are enhanced visual clarity and surgical dexterity. The da Vinci System features an enhanced vision system and tiny wristed instruments that bend and rotate far greater than the human wrist. “This technology takes surgical capabilities

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to a new level,” said Dan Bailey, DPM, and UVMC Chief Medical Officer. “Although it is often called a ‘robot,’ the da Vinci system cannot move or operate on its own,” he added. “The surgeon is 100% in control.” Initially, UVMC’s new robot-assisted surgical system will be used in the area of gynecologic surgery. When medication and non-invasive procedures are unable to relieve symptoms, surgery may be an effective treatment for a range of gynecologic conditions. The da Vinci surgery system can offer a minimally invasive option for certain women facing gynecologic surgery. Benefits for some patients include the potential for less pain, shorter hospital stay and faster return to normal daily activities. However, not all patients are candidates for robotic surgery. To learn more about robot-assisted surgery, talk to your gynecologist and/or visit www. or

Open house scheduled An open house to introduce the community to robot-assisted surgery will be Oct. 23, in the main lobby at Upper Valley Medical Center. The new surgical robot will be on display, and visitors will be able to try their hand at operating the robot. Physicians who will be using the robot will be on hand to answer questions. Door prize drawings and refreshments will be included.

Invention has people dancing in their seats AP Photo

In this Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2013 photo provided by Showtime, Bertolt Meyer, a social psychologist for the University of Zurich, poses for a photo in New York. Meyer is the face of the the Bionic Man and is featured in the Smithsonian Channel original documentary, "The Incredible Bionic Man."

‘Bionic man’ walks, breathes NEW YORK (AP) — Gentlemen, we can rebuild him, after all. We have the technology. The term “bionic man” was the stuff of science fiction in the 1970s, when a popular TV show called “The Six Million Dollar Man” chronicled the adventures of Steve Austin, a former astronaut whose body was rebuilt using artificial parts after he nearly died. Now, a team of engineers have assembled a robot using artificial organs, limbs and other body parts that comes tantalizingly close to a true “bionic man.” For real, this time. The artificial “man” is the subject of a Smithsonian Channel documentary that airs Sunday, Oct. 20 at 9 p.m. Called “The Incredible Bionic Man,” it chronicles engineers’ attempt to assemble a functioning body using artificial parts that range from a working kidney and circulation system to cochlear and retina implants. The parts hail from 17 manufacturers around the world. This is the first time they’ve been assembled together, says Richard Walker, managing director of Shadow Robot Co. and the lead roboticist on the project. “(It’s) an attempt to showcase just how far medical science has gotten,” he says. The robot making appearances in the U.S. for the first time this week. Having crossed the Atlantic tucked inside two metal trunks — and after a brief holdup in customs — the bionic man will strut his stuff at the New York Comic Con festival on Friday. Walker says the robot has about 60 to 70 percent of the function of a human. It stands six-and-a-half feet tall and can

step, sit and stand with the help of a Rex walking machine that’s used by people who’ve lost the ability to walk due to a spinal injury. It also has a functioning heart that, using an electronic pump, beats and circulates artificial blood, which carries oxygen just like human blood. An artificial, implantable kidney, meanwhile, replaces the function of a modern-day dialysis unit. Although the parts used in the robot work, many of them are a long way from being used in humans. The kidney, for example, is only a prototype. And there are some key parts missing: there’s no digestive system, liver, or skin. And, of course, no brain. The bionic man was modeled after Bertolt Meyer, a 36-year-old social psychologist at the University of Zurich who was born without his lower left arm and wears a bionic prosthesis. The man’s face was created based on a 3D scan of Meyer’s face. “We wanted to showcase that the technology can provide aesthetic prostheses for people who have lost parts of their faces, for example, their nose, due to an accident or due to, for example, cancer,” Meyer says. Meyer says he initially felt a sense of unease when he saw the robot for the first time. “I thought it was rather revolting to be honest,” he says. “It was quite a shock to see a face that closely resembles what I see in the mirror every morning on this kind of dystopian looking machine.” He has since warmed up to it, especially after the “man” was outfitted with some clothes from the U.K. department store Harrods.

The kids released their wheelchairs and leg braces, the sticks that help them see and the iPads that help them speak, and piled them in a corner. They went to Merry Lynn Morris, with her twisting blond hair and legs like a ballerina in a jewelry box. She helped them stretch and rubbed their bellies. “Reach your arms all the way up,” she said. “Look to the sky, and say thank you!” Morris is a dance professor at the University of South Florida, and more recently, an inventor. She was introducing kids with spina bifida and cerebral palsy to a chair she dreamed up. On this weekend in their class, the chair would let them dance. Not pretend to dance, not be pulled by a dancer, but actually dance. The kids peered at it, standing tall in the corner of the studio. Anybody in any body should have the right to dance, Morris said. An accident or a disability needn’t relegate the people you love to your back, pushing you, telling you where to go. If her father had been able to use this chair, he might have danced again, too. The Rolling Dance Chair was born from the brain of a dancer, not an engineer. It has taken seven years and $150,000 of grant money to get to this point, evolving from a stripped-down Segway — those rolling devices that tour groups ride through cities — to a sleek, elegant design. It’s getting closer to what Morris imagined, getting more attention from the world each year. U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth of Illinois, a double amputee, tried the chair on a visit to USF in 2010. This month, Morris is scheduled to present her invention at the Smithsonian Institution during a conference for innovators.

SHNS Photo Merry Lynn Morris, a dance professor at the University of South Florida, shows Jessica Hendricks, 7, how to use the electronic dance wheelchair Morris invented during a mixed-ability dance class in Tampa.

The chair is stately with a synthetic round seat that’s clear, designed to almost disappear under the dancer. It is sturdy enough for a second dancer to stand on, spinning, leg extended in full arabesque. The most important feature of the chair is the person sitting in it. He is in control. When he leans, the chair moves. The wheels can propel the chair in any direction using the slightest movement of a body. It’s an extension of dance, Morris said, not an obstacle. No one thinks twice about a tap shoe, or a ballet shoe with a wooden block on the end. Think of Broadway dances, the rolling desk chairs and elaborate sets. Think of the hoops and flames of Cirque du Soleil.

People have a harder time getting past a wheelchair. “You create these devices and people are frightened of them,” said Morris, 38. “Get out of the way; here comes the wheelchair user.” Reality doesn’t have to be so black and white, and dance doesn’t have to be so exact. It’s something she has learned over the years. “The manifestation of this project is sort of my whole way of being in the world,” she said. “It has been shaped by the desire to bring multiple realities together.” Morris was a dancer from the start. She had strong ankles and uncanny leg extension. She also loved to take things apart, ride her bike with no hands and try every piece of equipment on the playground.

Flu vaccine gets a shot of innovation in design, delivery Until 2003, there was only the flu shot. A needle into the arm delivered vaccine, and a couple of weeks later your immune system was primed to fight off the top three strains of influenza likely to be floating around that winter and early spring. But over the past several years, flu vaccine developers and manufacturers have been doing a lot of tinkering. They’ve come up with at least seven different types of vaccine and/or delivery modes. There are options for people who haven’t been able to get vaccinated because of egg allergy; for those who hate needles; for those who hate needles injected into muscle and for older people with balky immune systems who might need a stronger dose to gain protection; and new lines of vaccines that protect against an extra strain of flu virus. In all, manufacturers have told the

federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention they expect to produce at least 135 million flu vaccine doses for distribution in the U.S. this season, with more than 73 million doses already delivered to doctors’ offices, clinics, pharmacies, hospitals and other outlets. Last year, the flu season got an early start in October. Many officials fear the same pattern may repeat this fall, prompting an early “get a flu shot” campaign that rivals the Christmas promotions by some retail chains. The CDC and other public health advocates recommend flu vaccination for anyone 6 months or older (younger babies immune systems aren’t geared up enough to get it). Last year, an estimated 56 percent of children and 42 percent of adults got flu vaccine. Children younger than 9 getting a flu shot the first time need two doses. “We have more types of vaccine avail-

able than ever before and there are one or more options that are right for everyone,” Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease specialist at Vanderbilt University and past president of the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases, said at a Sept. 26 briefing sponsored by the foundation. All flu vaccines will include strains of H1N1 and H3N2 and a strain of influenza B. The three-strain or “trivalent” vaccine represents the bulk of vaccine stocks available this season. Some lines are made using virus grown in eggs and can be given to anyone 6 months and older; others are grown in cell culture and approved only for patients 18 and older. The four-strain, or quadrivalent, vaccine is the big innovation for this year, protecting against a second B-type influenza that mainly sickens young children. It’s available as a shot and as a nasal spray, which is limited to use on

healthy people ages 2 to 49. Vaccination experts expect the fourstrain dose will replace the three-strain version in all products within two to five years, but the CDC says it will make up less than a quarter of vaccine supplies this year. Quadrivalent vaccines will cost a third to half more, according to some prices in government contracts and trade reports. For instance, one manufacturer’s price per dose to the CDC is $12.03 for the four-strain, $8.08 for the standard three-strain version. Another three-strain version can be delivered with barely a tingle by an array of tiny, short microneedles into the skin, rather than by a single needle into muscle. And for people sensitive to eggs — roughly 1 percent of adults and 4 percent of children — there’s a new eggfree three-strain formula. The vaccine is cultured in caterpillar cells.