Report on the Fourth International Congress of INTERBOR
Siegfried W. Paul, C.P.O. *
Interbor, currently only an organization of European Orthotic Prosthetic Associations and Guilds, selected Italy for its Fourth International Congress which was held in Turin from May 21-May 23, 1970.
This Assembly with close to 1,000 registrants was the most successful meeting to date. The International climate demonstrated Interbor's goals for close working relationships between Orthotists and Prosthetists of the world. Lectures of the 28 Scientific Papers presented represented sixteen different countries and came from as far as Japan and the U.S.A. The official languages were English, French, German, and Italian. Each seat of the modern auditorium was supplied with ear phones and simultaneous translations permitted flawless following of the lecturers.
I would like to mention a few of the excellent presentations.
Dr. R. M. Davis of the Mechanical Engineering Dept. University College, London discussed the Bio-Mechanical Principles of External Power Systems for the Upper Extremity and reported of current research efforts with sensory feedback systems which show preliminary results. Professor Zarotti from the Prosthetic Center of Budrio, Italy reported on a feedback sytem directly to the stump of the arm amputee.
Mr. Passerini from the Institute Rizzoli of Bologna demonstrated below-elbow prostheses featuring lightweight stainless steel shells and suspension mechanism. Of particular interest was the myoelectric hand used which offered a greater range of motion and most delicate power control. With it he was able to grasp a cigarette by its ends without denting it.
Reception And Dinner For Lecturers
Fig. 1, Fig. 2, Fig. 3
Mr. Habermann O.M., Frankfurt, Germany reported on a new hydraulic foot.
Ralph Uhlig, Director of the Professional School in Frankfurt, Germany spoke on the constructive fabrication of lower-extremity orthoses. The term "apparat" brace is no longer used in Frankfurt and most of Europe.
Dr. Gracanin of Lubriana, Yugoslavia reported on electro-neuromuscular stimulators incorporated in orthoses worn by C.V.A. patients.
Dr. Yamada of Japan showed slides of an external power system for lower extremities. Still experimental, this motor-powered arrangement of flexible shafts is only slowed down by the weight of the power plant (23kg).
Mr. Hannes Schmidl, Budrio, Italy discussed hipdisarticulation, hemipelvectomy, and hemicorporectomy prostheses as they were applied at his center.
Mr. Saltiel from Israel demonstrated Plastic Lower Leg Orthosis.
My own paper which was prepared for this meeting on request featured The Orthotic Management of the Problematic Scoliosis.*
One of the biggest attractions was the exhibit area with 41 companies showing the latest items on the market. It was most evident that the Orthopedic Supply Industry has become part of the International Market exchanging goods at an ever increasing rate. It was a pleasure to notice many U.S. made items exhibited. An item of particular interest was a measuring and fabrication jig for lower Extremity Orthosis developed by Professor Salvatore Scalas who is also an engineer. This system all but eliminates the time for fittings and still obtains a most accurate fit.
Our Italian friends were superb in the elaborate arranging of the social activities. Whether it was the reception and dinner for the lecturers, the various sight seeing tours, fashion shows for the ladies, the reception by the mayor of Turin in his Palace or the beautiful trip to the Vineyards of Asti, with a tour of Abbazia di Vezzolano where most of the Martini and Rossi products originate. It was all done in beautiful taste. Topping all of this was the gala dinner at the Villa Delia Regina, an old castle. Over 1,200 persons came to this social highlight. The castle nestles at a mountainside overlooking Turin. A huge outdoor terrace with fountain was converted into a ballroom by installing a floor level with the brim of the Fountain and placing a canvas ceiling over the entire surface. The two-hour program of top notch entertainment that followed a seven-course dinner would have pleased all of you.
Looking back I must say that this Congress demonstrated the desire of the Orthotic and Prosthetic Associations for closer professional and social ties on an international basis.
This Congress was a very successful step closer to what should be a goal for all of us.
*Mr. Paul's paper appears immediately following this report.