Remotely monitored in-home virtual reality videogames improved hand function and forearm bone health in teens with hemiplegic cerebral palsy, helping them perform activities of daily living such as eating, dressing, cooking, and other tasks for which two hands are needed. "While these initial encouraging results were in teens with limited hand and arm function due to perinatal brain injury, we suspect using these games could similarly benefit individuals with other illness that affect movement, such as multiple sclerosis, stroke, arthritis and even those with orthopedic injuries affecting the arm or hand, " said Meredith R. Golomb, M.D, M.Sc., Indiana University School of Medicine associate professor of neurology. A pediatric neurologist at Riley Hospital for Children, she is the first author of a pilot study which reported on the rehabilitative benefits of these custom videogames. This project was done in collaboration with the Rutgers University Tele-Rehabilitation Institute, headed by Grigore Burdea, Ph.
Implantable Neuroprosthetics That Look And Function Like Natural Limbs, Enabling Injured Soldiers And Other Amputees To Lead More Independent Lives
The conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan have left a terrible legacy: more than 1, 200 returning American soldiers have lost one or more limbs. To address this growing national need, researchers at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) are laying the groundwork for a new generation of advanced prosthetic limbs that will be fully integrated with the body and nervous system. These implantable neuroprosthetics will look and function like natural limbs, enabling injured soldiers and the more than 2 million other amputees in the United States lead higher quality, more independent lives. As part of the recently approved Department of Defense appropriations bill, the U.S. Congress has allocated $1.6 million to the Center for Neuroprosthetics and BioMEMS (CNB), part of WPI's Bioengineering Institute, to advance this groundbreaking work. Sponsored by Massachusetts Senators John Kerry and Paul G. Kirk Jr and Massachusetts Representative James P. McGovern, the allocation will, in particular, fund work at WPI on neural control for advanced prosthetics.
Falls are the main cause of injuries among elderly people, but until now doctors have had few ways of effectively monitoring and counteracting mobility problems among patients. Work by European researchers is set to change that. Mobility problems, ranging from frequent accidental falls to difficulty standing up or walking, affect millions of Europeans both young and old. Elderly people in particular become more liable to trip due to poor eyesight or poor balance, while health complications, such as strokes and circulatory problems, or debilitating diseases like Parkinson's and Alzheimer's can make performing everyday tasks even reaching into a cupboard difficult or even dangerous. Injuries caused by falls among the elderly range from mild scrapes and bruises to serious complications requiring long-term treatment. Nine out of ten hip fractures, for example, occur in people over 50 and 80 percent of them women. "Falls and other mobility problems have a major societal and economic impact, " says Lorenzo Chiari, a researcher at the University of Bologna, Italy.
Researchers in the US who compared the effects on hip, knee and ankle joints of running barefoot versus running in modern running shoes, concluded that running in shoes exerted more stress on these joints compared to running barefoot or even walking in high-heeled shoes. The study was the work of lead author Dr D Casey Kerrigan, of JKM Technologies LLC, in Charlottesville, Virginia and colleagues from the University of Colorado and the University of Virginia, and was published in the December 2009 issue of PM&R: The journal of injury, function and rehabilitation. Knee osteoarthritis (OA) accounts for more disability in the elderly than any other disease, and although running has been shown to benefit health in many ways, including cardiovascular health, it can stress the joints in the leg, such as the hip, knee, and ankle. For the study, Kerrigan and colleagues recruited from the general population, 68 healthy young adults (37 women, 31 men) with no history of musculoskeletal injury and who regularly ran at least 15 miles a week in running shoes that are typically available in the shops.
CBS News' 60 Minutes reports on delays and wrongful denials of disability claims by the Department of Veterans Affairs. "There is a sacred tradition in the military: leave no one behind on the battlefield. But many veterans are beginning to believe their country has left them behind at home, once they're out of uniform and in need of help." "Last year, $30 billion ... - one third of the VA's total budget - was paid in disability compensation to nearly three million veterans. To receive a disability benefit, a veteran has to be honorably discharged" and have a service-related disability. The claim form is 23 pages long, which Michael Walcoff, the VA's deputy undersecretary for benefits, says probably "goes beyond just what is required. And one of the things that we're looking at is to try to simplify the process." The claims process "has been strained by a flood of disability claims - everything from combat wounds to injuries off the battlefield, illnesses and psychological disorders.
To most of us the holiday season is all about tradition, fun, and family, but if we're not careful, the holidays can also be a pain in the neck-literally-says the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA). Typical holiday activities, such as shopping "till you drop, " lifting heavy boxes and presents, and countless hours of cooking and baking, can cause muscles to work harder than usual, many times resulting in neck, shoulder, and back pain. This holiday season APTA recommends taking precautions-from distributing the weight of shopping bags equally on both sides of your body to lifting boxes carefully-in order to keeps aches and injuries at bay. "The added demands of the holidays stresses the body, which may increase the risk of injuries related to the extra activities, " says APTA spokesperson and physical therapist E. Anne Reicherter, PT, DPT, PhD. "Using proper body mechanics can help prevent muscle and joint discomfort this holiday season." Lifting - Test an object's weight before attempting to lift heavy packages or luggage.
Arizona State University researchers have developed a prosthetic device that literally puts the spring back into an amputee's step. The ASU scientists have developed and refined SPARKy (for spring ankle with regenerative kinetics) into a smart, active and energy storing below-the-knee (transbitial) prosthesis. SPARKy is the first prosthetic device to apply regenerative kinetics to its design, which resulted in a lightweight (four pound) device that allows the wearer to walk on grass, cement and rocks, as well as ascend and descend stairs and inclines. SPARKY operates by employing a spring to store energy as the wearer walks during normal gait, said Thomas Sugar, an ASU associate professor of engineering at the Polytechnic campus who led the research. Sugar and his colleagues -- ASU doctoral students Joseph Hitt and Matthew Holgate, as well as Barrett Honors College student Ryan Bellman -- have been developing and refining SPARKy for three years as part of a U.S. Army grant. SPARKy uses a robotic tendon to actively stretch springs when the ankle rolls over the foot, thus allowing the springs to thrust or propel the artificial foot forward for the next step.
Physical Activity Reduces Disease-Related Fatigue And Depression By Increasing Self-Efficacy Or Mastery
Researchers in the US studying people with chronic diseases found that physical activity may reduce depression and fatigue by increasing self-efficacy, or the belief that one can master physical goals and attain a sense of accomplishment from applying oneself. These were the findings of a study by lead author Dr Edward McAuley, a professor of kinesiology and community health at the University of Illinois in Champaign, and colleagues, and appears in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine. A person's self-efficacy is the belief they can attain a certain goal: an example of my self-efficacy would be that I believe I can climb several flights of stairs or jog around the block without stopping. While there is lots of evidence that physical activity influences wellbeing, the reason why is less well understood. McAuley told the media that: "Physically active individuals have an increased sense of accomplishment, or situation-specific self-confidence, which in turn results in reduced depression and reduced fatigue.
Physical therapist Stanley V. Paris, PT, PhD, FAPTA, age 72, member of the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA), successfully swam the English Channel as part of a four-person relay team on Thursday, August 6, 2009. Paris, who swam four times during the relay, helped bring the relay team to a victorious crossing of the English Channel in 13 hours and 25 minutes. "These are the kinds of moments I live for, a real challenge that I was not expected to make, " Paris said. Paris, a last-minute substitution on this relay team, swam the final leg and brought the team to victory when one of the team members was not able to reach land during his swim. Making his way through outcroppings of tall rocks, Paris reached the French shore at Cape Gris Nez, the nearest point to England and the narrowest in the Channel where the currents and waves were the most difficult. "I wanted to stand on French soil 'with no water beyond, " Paris said. After climbing onto a rock on the shore, Paris signaled his boat and "the ship's horn blared- we had successfully swum the Channel!
The Foundation for Physical Therapy (the Foundation) and the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) are pleased to announce a change in the governance structure for the Foundation. The new Foundation bylaws, taking effect January 1, 2010, clarify the relationship with APTA. With government regulators placing greater scrutiny on nonprofit organizations and others, this change will insure compliance with new laws, with a heightened focus on governance issues and transparency. All of this will enable the Foundation to continue its mission of funding the most promising researchers dedicated to the development of evidence-based practice and enhancing the quality of physical therapy services. The Foundation and APTA worked together to develop the new bylaws, which were approved by APTA's Board of Directors and the Foundation Board of Trustees during PT 2009: APTA's Annual Conference & Exhibition in June. As part of the transition, the process will include the establishment of standing committees and a new Board of Trustee election "cycle.