Health and Fitness

Decreased Muscle Strength Predicts Functional Impairments In Older Adults

Decreased muscle strength is associated with difficulty in performing functional activities such as stooping, crouching, or kneeling (SCK) in older adults, according to an observational study published in the January issue of Physical Therapy, (PTJ) the scientific journal of the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA). These researchers found that adults with SCK difficulty had significant decreases in adjusted strength measurements of trunk extensor, knee extensor, and ankle flexion muscles. Concluding that measurements of strength predict SCK difficulty, their study sets the stage for research exploring whether rehabilitation programs that focus on training specific muscle groups are effective in improving functional performance and whether improvements in functional performance reduces falls in older adults. Bending down and kneeling are fundamental tasks of daily living. Other researchers have suggested that older adults with SCK difficulty are more likely to have limitations in other lower-body functional tasks, such as lifting and prolonged standing.

Most Patients Gain Weight After Getting A New Knee

You'd think folks who've had knee replacement surgery -- finally able to walk and exercise without pain -- would lose weight instead of put on pounds, but surprisingly that's not the case, according to a University of Delaware study. Researchers Joseph Zeni and Lynn Snyder-Mackler in the Department of Physical Therapy in UD's College of Health Sciences found that patients typically drop weight in the first few weeks after total knee arthroplasty (TKA), but then the number on the scale starts creeping upward, with an average weight gain of 14 pounds in two years. The study, which was sponsored by the National Institutes of Health, is reported in the Jan. 15 online edition of Osteoarthritis and Cartilage, the official journal of the Osteoarthritis Research Society International. The research involved 106 individuals with end-stage osteoarthritis who had knee replacement surgery, and an age-matched, healthy control group of 31 subjects who did not have surgery. Height, weight, quadriceps strength, and self-perceived functional ability were measured during an initial visit to UD's Physical Therapy Clinic, and at a follow-up visit two years later.

Spacial Awareness Affected By Hands

We know exactly where an object is when we say it is "within the reach of our hand." But if we don't have a hand, can we still see the object just where it is? Apparently not, say researchers at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Hadassah Hospital-Mount Scopus. The space within reach of our hands -- where actions such as grasping and touching occur -- is known as the "action space." Research has shown that visual information in this area is organized in hand-centered coordinates -- in other words, the representation of objects in the human brain depends on their spatial position with respect to the hand. According to new research published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, amputation of the hand results in distorted visuospatial perception of the action space. The article was written by neuroscientists Dr. Tamar R. Makin, Meytal Wilf and Dr. Ehud Zohary of the Alexander Silberman Institute of Life Sciences at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem along with Dr.

G7 Forgives Haiti's Bilateral Loans To Support Aid Effort

At a press conference on Saturday, "Canadian Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said he and his G-7 colleagues would forgive bilateral loans extended to poverty-stricken Haiti, which estimates it could have lost 200, 000 residents in the major earthquake that hit last month, " Dow Jones Newswires reports. Flaherty also said Haiti's multilateral debt should be nullified as soon as possible (Thiruvengadam, 2/6). Ahead of the G7 announcement, the Obama administration on Friday declared its support for "international debt relief for Haiti to aid rebuilding efforts, " The Hill's " Blog Briefing Room " reports. "The earthquake in Haiti was a catastrophic setback to the Haitian people who are now facing tremendous emergency humanitarian and reconstruction needs, and meeting Haiti's financing needs will require a massive multilateral effort, " said Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner in a statement. "Today, we are voicing our support for what Haiti needs and deserves - comprehensive multilateral debt relief" (Fabian, 2/5).

Phone App To Improved Stroke Rehab

A UQ study will employ a unique mobile phone application to improve the "communicative fitness" and lifestyle of brain-injured patients. Led by Professor Linda Worrall from UQ's Clinical Centre for Research Excellence (CCRE) in Aphasia Rehabilitation, the study will be the first of its kind to use the technology in combining two complementary approaches to aphasia rehabilitation into one optimal treatment outcome. Aphasia, a language difficulty attributed to injury of the brain, usually from stroke, is estimated to affect 80, 000 Australians. It can vary from mild difficulties with finding words, or reading text, to not being able to understand what people are saying and being unable to speak. As part of the study, 50 participants with aphasia will wear voice-activated recorders for four weeks to record the amount of time they talk each day. The small device, to be incorporated into their mobile phone, will function in a similar way as a pedometer is used in the 10, 000 steps program, by keeping track of the users "communicative fitness".

What Is Paget's Disease Of Bone? What Causes Paget's Disease?

Paget's disease of bone, often just called Paget's disease or osteitis deformans, is a condition in which the normal cycle of bone growth is disrupted. The condition affects bone metabolism that allows for old bone to be recycled into new bone throughout life. This can cause bones to become weakened and deformed. In Paget's disease of bone, the rate at which old bone is broken down and new bone is formed is altered. Over time, it may result in bones becoming fragile. Common symptoms of Paget's disease include bone pain and deformity. The disease is named after Sir James Paget, the British surgeon who first described it in 1877. According to Medilexicon's medical dictionary : PagetВ s disease of bone is "a generalized skeletal disease, frequently familial, of older people in which bone resorption and formation are both increased, leading to thickening and softening of bones (the skull), and bending of weight-bearing bones." Paget's disease of bone is more common with age. After osteoporosis (brittle bones), Paget's disease is the second most common type of bone disease.

Physical Therapists Offer Snow Shovelers Advice To Avoid Injuries

As the Mid-Atlantic states brace for another bout of winter weather expected to produce a heavy amount of snowfall, the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) is offering tips on how to properly shovel snow to minimize the risk of injury. "Snow shoveling is a repetitive activity that can cause muscle strain to the lower back and shoulders, especially if a person is out of condition, " says APTA spokesperson Margot Miller, PT, of Cloquet, Minnesota. "Snow shoveling is also heavy work, so it's important to pay attention to how you lift." Tips to Avoid Winter Back Injuries Miller suggests the following tips for avoiding back injuries from snow shoveling: - Lift smaller loads of snow, rather than heavy shovelfuls. Take care to bend your knees and lift with your legs rather than with your back. - Use a shovel with a handle that lets you keep your back straight while lifting. A short handle will cause you to bend more to lift the load. Using a shovel that's too long makes the weight at the end heavier.

NHS Confederation Statement On National Audit Office Major Trauma Care Report

NHS Confederation director of policy Nigel Edwards responds to the National Audit 'Major Trauma Care' report. "The progress made to increase the co-ordination of urgent and emergency care means that trauma care has improved and the number of lives being saved is rising. "All local hospitals will ensure patients with the most urgent needs are treated as quickly as possible but there is more to do to make sure systems are joined up the best they can. While direct transfer to specialist services may be beneficial in a number of cases, it may not always be an option, especially in rural areas where immediate treatment and care may be required locally. "Creating improvements in trauma care, including rehabilitation and long-term care, requires the continued co-ordination of hospitals and emergency services. Encouraging all trauma staff to share more information on how best to create stronger networks of care is paramount if standards are to continue to improve. "Creating high quality trauma services across England will also require an acceptance from local populations that this may include making some tough decisions and moving certain urgent services away from local areas.

Help Hospitalized Veterans HHV Reports Benefits Of Craft Kit Therapy

Nearly 90 percent of HHV craft kit users report physical and mental improvements as a direct result of craft-kit therapy. Craft kits are an important rehabilitative tool used by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to restore coordination and impaired motor skills, improve attention spans and concentration, and relax frayed nerves in patients. Craft kits also provide a diversion and entertainment for those facing extended hospitalization and/or confinement. Patients with a good mental attitude and outlook toward treatment have better chances for improvement. In a baseline performance measurement study of craft kit therapy, craft care specialists found the following improvements in patients: -- Functional improvement - 48 percent -- Self-assessment - 47 percent -- Attention span - 45 percent -- Motivation - 51 percent These results and the benefits of craft kit therapy are discussed in a recently published JRRD guest editorial. HHV is the nation's largest supplier of craft kits used within VA and military hospitals.

Barefoot Running May Be Better For Feet, Joints By Avoiding Heel-Strike

An international team of researchers suggests that running barefoot may be better for the feet and joints of the lower limbs because they found people who run barefoot or in minimal shoes strike their foot on the ground in such a way that they have almost no impact collision due to "heel-strike", unlike people who run in modern running shoes where the impact of the more prevalent heel-strike can be the equivalent of landing with two to three times of one's body weight. Dr Daniel E. Lieberman, a professor in Harvard University's new department of human evolutionary biology in Cambridge, Massachusetts, US, and colleagues, have written a paper about their findings the 28 January online issue of Nature. Lieberman and colleagues found that barefoot endurance runners tended to land on the forefoot (the ball of the foot) before bringing down their heel, or they landed on the middle part of the foot, and very rarely landed on the heel. But runners who wore running shoes tended to land on the rear foot, "facilitated by the elevated and cushioned heel of the modern running shoe".

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