From the Editor

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By Miki Fairley

Take a mind-bending journey through the world of tomorrow's practitioner in the feature article, "Today's Dreams, Tomorrow's Reality in O&P Technology," by Paul Prusakowski, CPO, FAAOP. What's amazing is that most of the technology is available today. One that isn't yet ready in a practical way, but can make your imagination soar, is being able to shape a prosthesis with the help of a holographic projection monitor providing an incredibly lifelike representation of the residual limb.

NBA Star Rip' Hamilton's Famous Facemask

Many sports fans saw the Detroit Pistons rout the LA Lakers 100-87 in Game 5 of the NBA Championship Finals to take home Motown's first NBA title in 14 years. And one of the "heroes" of the game was Detroit forward Rip Hamilton's clear protective facemask which enabled him to continue playing after nasal fractures and reconstructive surgery. Read the behind-the-scenes story of Hamilton's mask and its creator, Jerry McHale, CO, in "The Man Behind the Mask," by Meredy Fullen.

Better Hand Orthoses

The use of low-temperature thermoplastics in hand splints/orthoses has greatly improved patient care in this area. Previously, therapists and orthotists had used leather, metal, and high-temperature plastics, which required significant fabrication time and generally several patient visits and fittings. With the advent of low-temperature thermoplastics, the splint/orthosis could be molded to the patient and completed in just one visit. Judy C. Colditz, OTR/L, CHT, FAOTA, discusses the current state of the art in this issue.

Lightweight Breast Prostheses

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The number of new cases of breast cancer has increased by about 1 percent per year in the US since about the 1940s and has only recently shown signs of leveling off, notes the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation ( www.komen.org). An estimated 216,000 new cases will be diagnosed in American women in 2004 alone. However, the foundation notes that, when detected early, breast tumors are almost 100-percent treatable.

And more options in breast forms and prostheses are now available to breast cancer survivors. The traditional school of thought was that women should wear weighted silicone prostheses similar in weight to the natural breast to give balance. Now, however, new research and industry trends are showing that lighter weight prostheses can benefit users from a medical standpoint as well as providing greater comfort. For more information on this timely topic, read "Lighter Breast Prostheses Equal Comfort, Benefits".

AAA Riders Inspire Others

The "Amputees Across America" riders completed their epic 66-day, 4,700-mile journey August 6. You'll enjoy reading more about their ride (which included ten skydives) in this month's SALUTE!. Truly these riders have made a difference in the lives of others. Congratulations to all of them!