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Student Designers from Stanford Begin Roll-out of Innovative “miraclefeet brace” In India and S. Africa Clinics

2014年06月03日 PM09:02
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CARRBORO, N.C.

As worldwide leaders in clubfoot treatment gather in Barcelona for the third annual International Clubfoot Symposium, miraclefeet, a non-profit working to eradicate clubfoot in the developing world, announces the miraclefeet brace, a modern, easy-to-use brace that costs less than twenty dollars.

Clubfoot affects one out of every 750 children, making it one of the most common birth defects around the world. In developing countries where treatment is not readily available, this disability often leads to a life of poverty, abuse, and shame. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be this way. With treatment, children born with clubfoot can live normal lives – running, playing and becoming productive members of their communities.

Now, thanks to a partnership between miraclefeet and students from the Stanford d.school, an innovative new brace is being rolled out this month in clinics in India and Africa. The miraclefeet brace is the brainchild of Jeffrey Yang, Ian Connolly, Michael Adhoot, and Katie Jaxheimer. These students were a part of the 2012 Design for Extreme Affordability program at Stanford’s d.school. The course utilizes “design thinking” to address real world social problems. Corporate partners Clarks Shoes and Suncast provided extensive technical expertise and manufacturing support for the project. King and Spalding provided pro-bono intellectual property counsel.

The partnership began when d.school faculty members were approached by Stanford alumna Chesca Colloredo-Mansfeld, co-founder and director of miraclefeet. The mission of miraclefeet is to ensure that all children born with clubfoot in developing countries have access to proper treatment.

Colloredo-Mansfeld was looking for a low-cost brace to replace the old-fashioned, uncomfortable ones currently being used in developing countries. Miraclefeet supports local health practitioners trained in the Ponseti method, a non-surgical treatment that involves a series of simple, properly applied plaster casts that are changed weekly. In 95 percent of cases, this results in full correction of the foot in four to six weeks. Following casting, a brace is worn at night for several years to prevent relapse – and this is where Colloredo-Mansfeld felt improvements needed to be made.

The d.school team accepted the challenge, and visited Brazil to research and learn first-hand how children with clubfoot were treated. They were shocked by what they found.

“The brace technology was antiquated. Many of the low end braces were merely curved steel rods,” said Yang. “It’s no wonder kids hate wearing them. The braces are ugly, uncomfortable, and often cause the patient to fall over due to poor design.”

After talking with parents, physicians, and representatives from miraclefeet, the students designed a colorful, modern solution that can be mass-produced for less than twenty dollars each. The miraclefeet brace, which looks more like a toy, locks the patient’s feet into a therapeutic position while the light plastic frame makes it possible for kids to stand and play on their own. The brace also features detachable shoes, which makes it easier to take on and off.

This month, the students are traveling to Delhi, India and Cape Town, South Africa to begin the final testing before large scale production begins. Miraclefeet hopes to have 15,000 braces in use around the world by 2015.

“There is no reason any child should live with untreated clubfoot. It is a cheap and relatively easy problem to fix, thanks in part to the new miraclefeet brace,” said Mansfeld-Colloredo. “All of us look forward to the day when every child born with clubfoot has access to high quality treatment.”

For more information or to support miraclefeet, please visit www.miraclefeet.org.

About miraclefeet:

Clubfoot is a leading birth defect causing poverty and abuse in developing countries, though it’s virtually unrecognized in the U.S. due to high treatment rates. Miraclefeet is a non-profit dedicated to providing proper treatment for children born with clubfoot in developing countries. It partners with local orthopedic surgeons working in public hospitals to establish and support clubfoot clinics. This is the most effective, efficient and sustainable approach to prevent the significant disability caused by clubfoot. A child born with clubfoot in a developing county can be fully treated for about $250 per child, transforming his or her life forever. To learn more, please visit www.miraclefeet.org.

CONTACT

Jill Dykes PR On behalf of miraclefeet
Jill Dykes, 919-749-8488
Jill@JillDykesPR.com

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