Medicare beneficiaries with heart disease who attended more cardiac rehabilitation sessions had fewer heart attacks and were less likely to die within four years than those who went to rehab less, researchers report in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association. Researchers analyzed data from 5 percent of the nation's Medicare beneficiaries that included more than 30, 000 patients age 65 and older who had gone to at least one cardiac rehabilitation session between the 2000 and 2005. When examining those who went to cardiac rehab, investigators learned: The more sessions, the better. "We were not surprised that patients who attended more rehabilitation had better outcomes, " said Bradley G. Hammill, M.S., lead author of the study. "We need to encourage physicians to recommend cardiac rehabilitation to eligible patients, and we need to encourage those patients to attend and stay with it." Medicare reimburses 36 sessions, yet about half of these Medicare-enrolled patients attended 24 or fewer, said Hammill, senior biostatistician at the Center for Clinical and Genetic Economics at Duke Clinical Research Institute in Durham, N.
Innovative smart sensing devices promise to boost mobility and quality of life for the elderly, reduce healthcare costs and even give sports people an edge through more effective training. The wireless devices are currently being sold by McRoberts, a Netherlands-based company that developed them as part of the SensAction-AAL project, an EU-funded initiative to create remote mobility monitoring solutions coordinated by the University of Bologna. Unlike many health monitoring systems that require multiple sensors as well as separate components for data storage and transmission, the DynaPort Hybrid device and MoveMonitor application developed by the SensAction-AAL researchers carry out movement sensing, data collection and data transmission in a single compact package. Worn on the user's waist in a special elastic belt, the devices monitor and record a person's physical movement and body posture, assist them in performing rehabilitation exercises, and can be configured to automatically alert emergency services in the event of a fall.
The Foundation for Physical Therapy will begin accepting letters of intent to apply for the new $300, 000 Clagett Family Research Grant on January 19, 2010. The grant was recently established to fund researchers investigating exercise interventions for older adults living with multiple chronic conditions. "The Clagett Family Research Grant is an exciting opportunity for researchers to investigate a high impact clinical research topic. Older adults with chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, and arthritis are at greater risk for disability and limitations to their activity, and could potentially benefit from exercise interventions, " said Foundation Board of Trustees Chair William G. Boissonnault, PT, DPT, DHSc, FAAOMPT. "Knowing the tremendous potential it has to impact the lives of so many people, we are excited to offer this award, which will support an outstanding team of researchers." The two-year grant is the Foundation's largest funding initiative since the launch of the Physical Therapy Clinical Research Network (PTClinResNet) in 2002.
Researchers from the NHS in Cornwall, the Peninsula Medical School, the Agency for Health Technology Assessment in Warsaw and the University of Birmingham have analysed 12 studies relating to cardiac rehabilitation and found no difference in health outcomes for patients who receive cardiac rehabilitation in a clinical setting or at home. The research paper is published in BMJ Online. The study, which included data from 1938 participants, from several countries (UK, USA, Canada, Italy, China, Turkey and Iran) found that there was no difference between home based and centre based rehabilitation for a number of issues including mortality, cardiac events, exercise capacity, risk factors that can be modified (such as smoking, high blood pressure, total cholesterol ) and quality of life in people at a low risk of further events after myocardial infarction or revascularisation. The study also found some evidence that those who received and practised cardiac rehabilitation at home were more likely to stick to their rehabilitation regime.
Treadmill training can be used to help people with Parkinson's disease achieve better walking movements, say researchers. In a systematic review of the evidence, Cochrane Researchers concluded treadmill training could be used to improve specific gait parameters in Parkinson's patients. Gait hypokinesia, characterised by slowness of movement, is one of the main movement disorders that affects Parkinson's patients and can have a major impact on quality of life. More recently, health professionals have started incorporating exercise into treatment regimes as a useful complement to traditional drug therapies. Training on treadmills is one option that may help to improve movement. The researchers analysed data from eight trials including 203 patients for the review, published in The Cochrane Library. They compared treadmill training versus no treadmill training, using effects on walking speed, stride length, number of steps per minute (cadence) and walking distance to measure improvement in gait.
Motor Deficits Can Persist Even After What Appears To Be A Full Recovery Following Traumatic Brain Injuries
Even after regaining normal walking speed, traumatic brain injury (TBI) victims have not necessarily recovered all their locomotor functions, according to a study supervised by UniversitГ Laval's Bradford McFadyen and recently published in Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. Professor McFadyen's team compared mobility in 11 people who had suffered a moderate or severe TBI to 7 subjects of comparable age and physical condition with no neurological problems. The subjects in the "TBI" group appeared to have made a recovery of walking ability and some of them had returned to their regular activities at the time of the study. In a laboratory specially equipped for the purpose, the two groups of subjects had to walk a course on which researchers had placed various obstacles and created visual or auditory distractions. "We wanted to reproduce real-life conditions in the laboratory where people have to move around and their brains are forced to handle a number of tasks simultaneously, " said Bradford McFadyen.
Despite growing public interest in concussions because of serious hockey injuries or skiing deaths, a researcher from McMaster University has found that we may not be taking the common head injury seriously enough. In a study to be published in the February issue of the journal Pediatrics, Carol DeMatteo, an associate clinical professor in the School of Rehabilitation Science, found that children who receive the concussion label spend fewer days in hospital and return to school sooner than their counterparts with head injuries not diagnosed as concussion. "Even children with quite serious injuries can be labelled as having a concussion, " said DeMatteo, an occupational therapist and associate member of the CanChild Centre for Childhood Disability Research at McMaster. "Concussion seems to be less alarming than 'mild brain injury' so it may be used to convey an injury that should have a good outcome, does not have structural brain damage and symptoms that will pass." But despite the benign terminology, a concussion is actually a mild traumatic brain injury which could have serious repercussions.
Scientists have identified a gene underlying a disease that causes temporary paralysis of skeletal muscle. The finding, they say, illustrates how investigations of rare genetic diseases can drive insights into more common ones. The finding is reported in the January 8, 2010 issue of the journal Cell. The disease, known as thyrotoxic hypokalemic periodic paralysis, causes acute attacks of weakness in muscles that control movement. Symptoms range from difficulty grasping objects or rising from a lying position to incapacitating weakness of the body that prevents movement. The condition lasts from hours to days. Scientists have known that TPP occurs when certain people with an overactive thyroid are exposed to environmental stresses, such as resting of the muscles after exercise, stress, or low potassium levels in blood after eating a large carbohydrate meal. Treatment of the hyperthyroidism controls the disorder. However, scientists have been puzzled by the disease. Patients often don't have the clinical symptoms of hyperthyroidism, such as bulging eyes, loss of hair and increased sweating.
MediSens Wireless, a startup company in UCLA's on-campus technology incubator at the California NanoSystems Institute, has obtained approval under federal Food and Drug Administration guidelines to begin clinical trials on its novel wireless body-monitoring system, which assesses muscle and neuromotor functions in the upper extremities. The Clinical Movement Assessment System (CMAS) is designed for a wide variety of medical applications and could potentially benefit health care professionals and facilities specializing in the areas of physical medicine and rehabilitation, neurology, orthopedics, and physical and occupational therapy, among others. MediSens moved to the new CNSI incubator in 2009 to begin commercializing licensed technology originally invented by a team led by Majid Sarrafzadeh, a UCLA professor of computer science and engineering and co-director of the Wireless Health Institute at UCLA. The company's mission is to design and deliver personal medical monitoring systems that advance human health.
People with impaired mobility after a stroke soon may have a therapy that restores limb function long after the injury, if a supplemental protein works as well in humans as it does in paralyzed rats. Two new studies by UC Irvine biologists have found that a protein naturally occurring in humans restores motor function in rats after a stroke. Administered directly to the brain, the protein restores 99 percent of lost movement; if it's given through the nose, 70 percent of lost movement is regained. Untreated rats improve by only 30 percent. "No drugs exist that will help a stroke after a few days. If you have a stroke, you don't have many treatment options, " said James Fallon, psychiatry & human behavior professor and senior co-author of the studies. "Now we have evidence there may be therapies that can repair damage to a significant degree long after the stroke. It's a completely unexpected and remarkable finding, and it's worth trying in humans." The studies, carried out by UCI postdoctoral researcher Magda Guerra-Crespo, chronicle the success of a small protein called transforming growth factor alpha, which plays critical tissue-forming and developmental roles in humans from just after conception through birth and into old age.