O&P pioneer dies at 88

Prosthetics innovator Melvin J. Glimcher, MD, died May 12, The New York Times reported. He was 88 years old.

Glimcher attended Harvard Medical School and graduated magna cum laude before becoming an orthopedic surgeon. Following his internship and residency, he studied biochemistry, biophysics and engineering at the Massachusetts Institution of Technology. Glimcher was appointed to the first tenured chair in orthopedic surgery at Harvard University when he was aged 39 years.

Glimcher combined engineering degree and physics degrees with orthopedics, which paved the way for scientific advances within the orthopedics and O&P fields.  In his professional career, Glimcher advanced the understanding of human gait and bone genetics, which fostered improvements in the treatment of osteoporosis and other bone diseases.

In 1968, he devised the Boston Arm, an upper arm prosthesis activated by electrical impulses generated in muscles of the residual limb. The device included technology allowing delicate objects to be handled more sensitively than others. Several hundred were sold, and the engineering principles in the arm have been incorporated in more recent prostheses, according to the report.

Glimcher is survived by three daughters, six grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

For more information:

Dr. Melvin J. Glimcher, prosthetics innovator, dies at 88. Available at: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/05/31/us/dr-melvin-j-glimcher-prosthetics-innovator-dies-at-88.html. Accessed June 2, 2014.


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