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A new study published today in The Journal of Applied Physiology concludes that prosthetic legs worn by double amputee sprinter Oscar Pistorius give him an unfair advantage over able-bodied runners. In the study, “The fastest runner on artificial legs: different limbs, similar function?,” researchers said Pistorius’s blades allow him to turn over his strides more quickly and with more power than a runner with biological legs. “We conclude that running on modern, lower-limb sprinting prostheses appears to be physiologically similar but mechanically different from running with intact limbs,” the report says. Researchers conducted three tests that compared his prosthetic limbs and those of competitive male runners with intact limbs. They determined that Pistorius expended less energy when he ran, particularly when comparing him against runners in the 400-meter speciality. Also, the study says Pistorius benefits from enhanced running mechanics on his blades, including longer foot-ground contact time and less time in the ... keep reading »
Jordan Thomas would like your vote. Thomas, 20, of Chattanooga, Tenn., is one of CNN’s “Top 10 CNN Heroes” for his work with the Jordan Thomas Foundation, which he founded at age 16 to provide prosthetics for children in need. A double amputee himself, Thomas has received $25,000 as a finalist and will compete as “CNN Hero of the Year,” which comes with an additional $100,000 award. Votes are being conducted through an online poll at The winner will be announced in a CNN T.V. special on Thanksgiving night. Thomas lost both of his legs in a boating accident in 2005. The top-of-the-line prosthetics he was fitted with cost about $24,000. After learning that many insurance plans cover only about $5,000, Thomas began the Jordan Thomas Foundation, which has raised more than $400,000 to provide prosthetics for children in need through bracelets, charity golf tournaments and cookouts. Each year, the CNN Heroes ... keep reading »
An interesting scene on last night’s episode of Mad Men, which is set in the 1960s. A top executive at the Sterling Cooper ad agency — known as a “pure account man” — got his foot run over by (a drunk secretary on) a John Deere lawn mower. After he is rushed to the hospital, the doctors must amputate his foot. So the big wigs at the agency arrive at the hospital, and big wig #1 says, “He was a great account man. A prodigy. He could talk a Scotsman out of a penny.” Then big wig #2 says, “Now thats all over.” Don Draper tries to defend the amputee, but there’s really no discussion. Says big wig #2: “The man is missing a foot. How is he going to work? He can’t walk.” And big wig #1 pipes up, “The doctor said he’d never golf again.” Both big wigs agree ... keep reading »
The Sunday Times of South Africa reviewed Oscar Pistorius’ new autobiography, “Blade Runner”, due to be released this week. The Paralympic sprint champion was fitted with prosthetic legs when he was just shy of two years old, but was able to participate in contact sports like cricket and rugby. When he was 16, however, a bad rugby tackle — known as a “hospital pass” — left him with a severe injury, compelling him to spend time away from contact sports. So he took up running. “When I started [running] for my rugby rehabilitation, I thought, Geez, this is terrible,” Pistorius told the Sunday Times. “Lo and behold, months later I was running at the South African Championships for disabled athletes, and eight months later [in 2004] I was in Athens.” He took gold in the 200-meter race in Athens, ahead of Marlon Shirley and then world champion Brian Frasure. According to ... keep reading »
Barack Obama’s election has left some important seats open in his cabinet and in the Illinois senate. His selection of Sen. Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State leaves New York Governor David Paterson, who is partially blind, to appoint Clinton’s replacement. The race for Obama’s Illinois senate seat is also heating up, with Gov. Rod Blagojevich set to name a replacement. Among the handful of candidates being considered, Tammy Duckworth is a popular pick. Ms. Duckworth, 40, served in Iraq and flew combat missions as a Black Hawk helicopter pilot. During a mission in 2004, her helicopter was struck by a rocket-propelled grenade.  Duckworth lost both of her legs — one leg below the knee (BK) and one leg above the knee (AK). After a long recovery process, she uses prosthetics, (such as the Proprio electric-powered ankle shown), that allow her to walk and continue to fly aircraft. Ms. ... keep reading »