Advanced Prosthetics - July 2020


A Brief History of Prosthetics


For thousands of years, doctors and researchers have sought to create aesthetically pleasing prosthetics that would give amputees full function of the limbs they lost, as well as a sense of wholeness. Prosthetics in the Ancient World The earliest example of a prosthetic ever found was a big-toe prosthetic on the mummy of an Egyptian noblewoman. She most likely needed it in order to continue wearing the type of sandals that were common in Egypt at the time. In ancient Rome, General Marcus Sergius had a prosthesis for his right hand that let him hold a shield in battle. He went on to have an illustrious military career after that. While these early examples of prosthetics were crude, they still worked to improve the wearer’s function in their chosen activity. The Many Prosthetists of the Renaissance and Beyond Like so many revolutionary advancements in science and technology, the invention of prostheses as we know them today happened incrementally. Brilliant mind after brilliant mind built on the progress of those who came before them. Ambroise Pare invented the lockable knee and adjustable harness for leg prostheses. Pieter Verduyn included a leather thigh socket and external hinges in his below-knee prosthesis. James Potts’ later design took these elements and made them aesthetically pleasing. His design was the standard in the U.S. until the Civil War. War Spurs on Further Development The Civil War created an unprecedented number of amputees in the U.S. James Hanger, a Confederate engineer and the first amputee of the war, designed and patented the most advanced prosthesis of the time. Hanger’s designs became the standard until after World War II, when researchers began using new, lightweight materials such as plastic and aluminum to improve function. Then in 1975, Ysidro Martinez invented a

People have raved about many superfoods over the past few decades, but one that’s garnered notable attention is turmeric. Fittingly known as the golden spice due to its orange-yellow hue, turmeric is famous for being a crucial part of Indian cuisine, ayurvedic medicine, and Chinese medicine. But does turmeric actually help people? And if so, how? Let’s start with the basics to find out. What’s in turmeric? First, it’s important to know what the spice contains and why researchers are so excited about it. Turmeric is packed with a chemical known as curcumin, which has been shown to provide anti-inflammatory effects, pain relief, antioxidants, and a decrease in the risk of cancer. Pro Tip: You should not consume excessive amounts of turmeric if you take medication that has blood-clotting effects, such as aspirin. However, a moderate amount typically doesn’t react with these or other medications and has many other benefits. Can it improve joint health? In many cases, yes! The Arthritis Foundation recommends taking a 400–600-milligram tablet of turmeric up to three times daily. Multiple studies cite turmeric’s ability to reduce inflammation and relieve arthritis pain, and one study even notes that turmeric seemed to work just as well as ibuprofen (Advil) for people with arthritis in their knees. Participants in that study took 800 milligrams of turmeric every day. Can it help the liver? Yes. One of the spice’s most notable characteristics is its powerful antioxidant abilities. Antioxidants play an important function in our bodies. The average person is exposed to refined and processed foods, smoking, environmental pollution, and chemicals found in pesticides and drugs. Turmeric can protect the liver from damage due to these toxins, which also aids those who take strong medications known to cause long-term liver damage. Can it decrease symptoms of hay fever and depression? Some symptoms, yes. The curcumin in turmeric can help reduce hay fever symptoms like sneezing, itching, runny nose, and congestion. When used in tandem with antidepressants, turmeric may help reduce symptoms of depression. There are many benefits to using turmeric in your weekly meal routine. Try out some Indian or Chinese recipes or prepare some Instagram-worthy golden milk. In whatever you make, enjoy the rich flavor combinations turmeric offers!

below-knee prosthesis with a higher center of mass that improved the wearer’s gait. Today’s bionic limbs are the latest in a long line of historical advancements in prosthetics. Because of those advancements, we can confidently move forward to a day when the functionality of prosthetic limbs will match that of natural ones.


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