Congress must act immediately to restore access to rehabilitative services for Medicare beneficiaries as many senior citizens and people with disabilities are nearing arbitrary limits (also known as therapy caps) on services provided by physical therapists and other health care providers in outpatient health care settings, says the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA). The Medicare program began enforcement of the $1, 860 limit on outpatient rehabilitation services on January 1. "With many Medicare beneficiaries approaching the arbitrary $1, 860 cap, it's imperative that Congress act now to ensure coverage for necessary services, " said APTA President R. Scott Ward, PT, PhD. "The most vulnerable patients-those with chronic conditions or with multiple comorbidities, who experience stroke, hip fracture, or who have Parkinson disease or osteoporosis-are most likely to soon be negatively affected by this arbitrary payment cap." Immediate action is required by Congress to prevent thousands of Medicare beneficiaries from exceeding the therapy caps on outpatient physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech-language pathology services.
Female athletes experience dramatically higher rates of specific musculoskeletal injuries and medical conditions compared to male athletes, according to exercise physiologist Vicki Harber in the Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation at the University of Alberta. According to her paper, depending on the sport, there can be a two- to sixfold difference in these types of injuries between male and female athletes. That's because many training programs developed for female athletes are built on research using young adult males and don't take the intrinsic biological differences between the sexes into account. Harber has authored a comprehensive guide for coaches, parents and administrators, entitled The Female Athlete Perspective, and published by Canadian Sport for Life (CS4L), which addresses these and other medical issues known to influence women's participation in sport. The paper is based on a thorough review of the current literature on the subject, Harber's extensive knowledge as a researcher in female athlete health and her work in the development of female athletes.
How do you change health habits among a population with some of the highest heart disease rates in the world? Tackling heart disease in Kentucky an epicenter of heart health problems the University of Kentucky Gill Heart Institute Cardiac Rehabilitation Program is helping high-risk patients make radical, lasting changes to improve their heart health. "People have a notion of heart disease as something they're born with, but for most people that isn't true. Genetics play a role, but lifestyle accounts for the majority of heart disease risk, " says Dr. Alison Bailey, Gill Heart Institute cardiologist and director of the cardiac rehab program. Since the Gill Heart Institute Cardiac Rehabilitation Program opened in February 2009, dozens of patients have undergone total lifestyle makeovers with the help of heart health professionals. Many patients enter rehabilitation after a dramatic event, such as a heart attack. Others self-refer to the program, knowing they are at risk and hoping to avoid a cardiac emergency.
OSA: The Sleep Disorder that's Deadly for Your Heart If you're a loud snorer who doesn't feel rested enough during the day, you may be unwittingly putting your heart at risk. That's because you could have untreated Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA), a disorder directly linked to several cardiovascular syndromes that cause premature death. OSA, in which the upper airway becomes blocked repeatedly during sleep, is a condition that affects 24% of men and 8% of women. Over the past 10 years, several studies have linked OSA to high blood pressure. Patients who require three or more medications to control hypertension have an 80% chance of having OSA. Also, compared to the general population the prevalence of OSA is significantly higher among patients with chronic heart failure (50% higher), a trial fibrillation (50% higher) and coronary artery disease (40% higher). For patients with these heart conditions, a sleep study is crucial; if their OSA goes undiagnosed and untreated, they will have a doubled risk for death during the next 5 years.
Repetitive strain injury or RSI, also known as repetitive stress injury, repetitive motion injuries, repetitive motion disorder (RMD), cumulative trauma disorder (CTD), occupational overuse syndrome, overuse syndrome, and regional musculoskeletal disorder is a range of painful or uncomfortable conditions of the muscles, tendons, nerves and other soft tissues. RSI is usually caused by repetitive use of a certain part of the body, often somewhere in the upper limbs (arms). Repetitive strain injury is typically related to an occupation (job), but may also be linked to some kinds of leisure activity. As opposed to a sudden or 'normal' injury, RSI signs and symptoms may continue for much longer. Experts say that repetitive strain injury is an injury of the musculoskeletal and nervous systems that may be the result of repetitive tasks, forceful exertions, vibrations, pressing against hard surfaces (mechanical compression), or sustained or awkward positions. Conditions such as RSI tend to be linked to both physical and psychosocial stressors (mental stress ).
Many people with back pain do not know what is causing it and they do not receive effective treatment, but learning to move in a more integrated way makes a big difference, reveals research from the Sahlgrenska Academy at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden. "People with long-term back pain often protect themselves by unconsciously limiting their movements, " says physiotherapist Christina SchГ n-Ohlsson. "Such inefficient movement patterns gradually become habituated even though the original injury or strain is no longer present." The answer to the problem is sensory motor learning, where patients are guided to find out how they are moving and how they can free themselves from self-imposed limitations. This process leads patients to develop their bodily awareness and to trust in their bodily sensations again. In one of the studies 40 patients were randomly divided into two groups to compare experiences of two different types of treatment: exercise therapy and sensory motor learning.
Massage, manipulation and other hands-on approaches can safely and effectively help with pain management. The January issue of Mayo Clinic Women's HealthSource discusses the uses and benefits of massage, spinal manipulation, and Rolfing, as well as the Alexander technique and the Feldenkrais method. Massage: Almost everyone feels better after the soothing strokes of a massage. This process involves applying pressure to the body's soft tissues by rubbing, kneading or rolling. There are a variety of techniques and styles, such as deep tissue massage, where deeper layers of muscle and connective tissue are manipulated. Another approach focuses on trigger points -- muscle "knots" that are painful when pressed. Massage can help reduce pain, muscle soreness and swelling. It can improve circulation, joint flexibility and range of motion. Massage has been shown to help those with chronic back pain, migraines, knee osteoarthritis and cancer. Spinal manipulation: Also called spinal adjustment, this therapy is used to treat restricted spinal mobility.
Researchers at the medical university Karolinska Institutet have created a genetically modified mouse in which certain neurons can be activated by blue light. Shining blue light on brainstems or spinal cords isolated from these mice produces walking-like motor activity. The findings, which are published in the scientific journal Nature Neuroscience, are of potential significance to the recovery of walking after spinal cord injury. "This new mouse model will impact the way in which future studies examining the organization of neurons involved in walking are performed. We hope that our findings can provide insight that eventually will contribute to treatments for spinal cord injured patients"", says Professor Ole Kiehn, who lead the study. Excitatory neurons have been suggested to play an important role for the initiation and maintenance of locomotion, or walking. However, this has not been demonstrated directly. In order to test the hypothesis that activation of excitatory neurons is essential to locomotion, a research team at the Department of Neuroscience, Karolinska Institutet, created a genetically modified mouse which expresses a light sensitive protein in excitatory neurons.
Music therapy can assist in the speech acquisition process in toddlers who have undergone cochlear implantation, as revealed in a new study by Dr. Dikla Kerem of the University of Haifa. The study was carried out in Israel as a doctoral thesis for Aalborg University in Denmark (supervised by Prof. Tony Wigram) and presented at a "Brain, Therapy and Crafts" conference at the University of Haifa. Some infants who are born with impaired hearing and who cannot benefit from hearing aids are likely to gain 90% normal hearing ability by undergoing a cochlear implantation procedure. Following the operation, however, the child - who never heard before - undergoes a long rehabilitation process before he or she can begin to speak. In the present study, Dr. Kerem examined the particular effects that music therapy has on the potential development of toddlers (aged 2-3 years) who have undergone cochlear implantation, specifically in terms of improving spontaneous communication. "Music comprises various elements that are also components of language and therefore as a non-verbal form of communication is suitable for communication with these children, when they are still unable to use language.
James Prister, President and CEO of RML Specialty Hospital in Hinsdale, Ill., is the 2010 chair of the American Hospital Association's (AHA) Section for Long-Term Care and Rehabilitation. As chair, Prister will lead the section's governing council which advises the AHA on public policy issues of concern to all post-acute and continuing care providers. The governing council represents executives from among the nation's leading rehabilitation, acute long-term care, skilled, home health and continuing care services. Prister has been president and chief executive officer of RML Specialty Hospital since 1996. Previously, he held positions as chief operating officer of Suburban Hospital and president of the Ventilator Support Center, both located in Hinsdale, and served for more than eight years as vice president of operations for Sparrow Hospital in Lansing, Michigan. A Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE), Prister is a member of the Northern Illinois Regent's Council for ACHE.