Ripple Effects

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The conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan have had a lasting, albeit varied, impact on the American psyche. According to a USA Today article , feelings range from patriotism and gratitude to discouragement and guilt ("Effects of Iraq War Vary Dramatically in USA," by Rick Hampson, March 16, 2006).

Needless to say, there continue to be direct physical consequences as well, and those consequences are having a major impact on the O&P profession. The pace at which new products and technologies are being introduced into the O&P marketplace is almost dizzying. Advances in prosthetic technology, and functional levels in turn, are allowing a number of servicemen and servicewomen who are injured in battle to remain on active duty--something unheard of in past conflicts.

However, active military personnel make up only a small percentage of those who can benefit from these advances. According to Ed Ayyappa, CPO, director of clinical activities at VA Prosthetic Services in Long Beach, California, the number of amputees from Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom is under 1,000. During the same time frame--2001-2007--the VA has performed 17,000 amputations, mostly on people with diabetes. These older veterans and civilians alike are enjoying greater stability and function. Judith Philipps Otto reports on how the Department of Veterans Affairs is "Serving Veterans of All Ages".

The Forgotten Wounded

Judy also brings us a story from another group that has experienced the dire physical consequences of war. According to statistics recently reported in the New York Times , more than 900 contractors have been killed in Iraq, and more than 12,000 have been wounded in battle or injured on the job. Their stories are largely unheard of in the mainstream media. Joe Williams is just one of the many ""Civilian Casualties from Iraq".

The Orthotist's Role in Knee OA Management

Arthritis affects one-third more women than men, and after age 50, women take a strong lead in knee osteoarthritis. In addition to providing orthotic solutions for women who suffer from knee OA, the orthotist can also play a critical role in motivating women and educating them on how to manage the symptoms and slow the progression of knee OA. Miki Fairley focuses on "The Orthotist's Role in Successful Knee OA Management".

The EDGE Welcomes a New Team Member

On a different note, I am pleased to announce a new member of The O&P EDGE team. Becky Seely has joined our sales department as a display advertising account representative. She comes to us from the local Fox television affiliate, where she sold commercial advertising space. Many of you have already had the pleasure of speaking with Becky. For those of you who haven't, we'll be in Las Vegas next month at the American Orthotic & Prosthetic Association (AOPA) National Assembly (booth #404), where you'll have the opportunity to meet her. I hope to see you there.

Karen Henry
Editor, The O&P EDGE

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