Health and Fitness

Scientists Make Paralyzed Rats Walk Again After Spinal-Cord Injury

UCLA researchers have discovered that a combination of drugs, electrical stimulation and regular exercise can enable paralyzed rats to walk and even run again while supporting their full weight on a treadmill. Published Nov. 20 in the online edition of Nature Neuroscience, the findings suggest that the regeneration of severed nerve fibers is not required for paraplegic rats to learn to walk again. The finding may hold implications for human rehabilitation after spinal cord injuries. "The spinal cord contains nerve circuits that can generate rhythmic activity without input from the brain to drive the hind leg muscles in a way that resembles walking called 'stepping, '" explained principal investigator Reggie Edgerton, a professor of neurobiology and physiological sciences at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. "Previous studies have tried to tap into this circuitry to help victims of spinal cord injury, " he added. "While other researchers have elicited similar leg movements in people with complete spinal injuries, they have not achieved full weight-bearing and sustained stepping as we have in our study.

Bad Effects Of Prolonged Bed Rest Reduced In ICU By Mild Exercise

Critical care experts at Johns Hopkins are reporting initial success in boosting recovery and combating muscle wasting among critically ill, mostly bed-bound patients using any one of a trio of mild physical therapy exercises during their stays in the intensive care unit (ICU). "ICU-related muscle weakness is the number one factor in prolonging a patient's recovery and delaying their return to a normal life, including work and recreational activities, " says critical care specialist Dale Needham, M.D., Ph.D., the senior researcher involved in producing the report, to be published in the journal Critical Care Medicine online Sept. 21. "Our ICU patients are telling us that they want to be awake and moving. Gone are the days when we should only think of critically ill patients on complete bed rest, " says Needham, whose 2008 publication in the Journal of the American Medical Association reported that a majority of ICU patients experienced prolonged fatigue and delayed recovery after bed rest.

Exercise Counseling And Fitness Center Training Effective For Type 2 Diabetes

Physical therapist-directed exercise counseling combined with fitness center-based exercise training can improve muscular strength and exercise capacity in people with type 2 diabetes, with outcomes similar to those of supervised exercise, according to a randomized clinical trial published in the September issue of Physical Therapy, the scientific journal of the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA). Type 2 diabetes is associated with numerous health complications, including a decline in muscular strength and exercise capacity. Studies show that a decline in muscular strength increases the risk of loss of physical function and that a decline in exercise capacity increases the risk of cardiovascular and all-cause mortality. "Improving muscular strength and exercise capacity in people with type 2 diabetes is crucial to preventing loss of physical function and decreasing comorbidity and mortality in these patients, " said lead researcher J. David Taylor, PT, PhD, CSCS, assistant professor in the Department of Physical Therapy at the University of Central Arkansas.

APTA Urges For Reform To Increase Access To Physical Therapy Services Following Results Of Pilot On Musculoskeletal Conditions

In the wake of a report showing that patients with musculoskeletal conditions who receive physical therapy and other "physical medicine" services are less likely to have surgery, incur lower costs, and fare better than patients who do not receive such services, the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) is urging Congress to include policies in health care reform that increase access to physical therapy services, especially for America's seniors who live in rural areas. The Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield 2008 pilot program, a quality improvement program for Iowa and South Dakota physical medicine providers, collected data from 238 physical therapists, occupational therapists, and chiropractors who provided care to 5, 500 Wellmark members with musculoskeletal disorders. The data showed that 89% of the Wellmark members treated in the pilot reported a greater than 30% improvement in 30 days. In addition, Wellmark claims data for members who received care from physical therapists or chiropractors was compared with data for a member population with similar demographics (including health) who did not receive such services.

What Is A Fracture? What Are Broken Bones?

A fracture, also referred to as a bone fracture, FRX, FX, F x or # is a medical condition where the continuity of the bone is broke. A significant percentage of bone fractures occur because of high force impact or stress; however, a fracture may also be the result of some medical conditions which weaken the bones, for example osteoporosis, some cancers or osteogeneris imperfecta. A fracture caused by a medical condition is known as a pathological fracture. The word break is commonly used by lay (non-professional) people. Among health care professionals, especially bone specialists, such as orthopedic surgeons, break is a much less common term when talking about bones. A crack (not only a break) in the bone is also known as a fracture. Fractures can occur in any bone in the body. There are several different ways in which a bone can fracture; for example a clean break to the bone that does not damage surrounding tissue or tear through the skin is known as a closed fracture or a simple fracture.

Physical Therapists Receive Clinical Specialist Recertification

The American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties (ABPTS) of the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) announces that 243 physical therapists were awarded recertification in 2009 as board-certified clinical specialists. To date, more than 1, 900 board-certified clinical specialists have been recertified. Those who were recognized recently completed the requirements to become board-certified specialists in one or more of the following specialty areas: Cardiovascular and Pulmonary, Clinical Electrophysiology, Geriatrics, Neurology, Orthopaedics, Pediatrics, and Sports. "Clinical specialists have demonstrated [their] ability to meet challenges by achieving the highest level of recognition for clinical practitioners, " said Patricia Scheets, PT, DPT, NCS, keynote speaker at the Opening Ceremony for the Recognition of Clinical Specialists at the APTA 2009 Combined Sections Meeting. According to Scheets, "Clinical specialists possess the perfect combination of knowledge and understanding of external evidence coupled with clinical skills, judgment, and experience that is needed to raise a generation of evidence-based physical therapists.

American Board Of Physical Therapy Specialties Recognizes Board-Certified Specialists

The American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties (ABPTS) of the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) has awarded specialist certification to 1, 001 physical therapists this year. Since 1985, 9, 409 physical therapists have achieved board certification. Those who were recognized recently completed the requirements to become board-certified specialists in one or more of the following specialty areas: Cardiovascular and Pulmonary, Clinical Electrophysiology, Geriatrics, Neurology, Orthopaedics, Pediatrics, Sports, and Women's Health Physical Therapy. "Clinical specialists have demonstrated [their] ability to meet challenges by achieving the highest level of recognition for clinical practitioners, " said Patricia Scheets, PT, DPT, NCS, keynote speaker at the Opening Ceremony for the Recognition of Clinical Specialists at the APTA 2009 Combined Sections Meeting. According to Scheets, "Clinical specialists possess the perfect combination of knowledge and understanding of external evidence coupled with clinical skills, judgment, and experience that is needed to raise a generation of evidence-based physical therapists.

Women Living In Group Homes Need To Learn To Make Decisions About Leisure Time To Enrich Their Lives

Most people don't think twice about the ability to choose the movie they want to watch, the book they want to read or with whom they will have coffee. But what if you didn't have the choice, or were never taught how to make decisions regarding leisure activities? That's the reality for some women living in group homes according to a new study from the University of Alberta. Brenda Rossow-Kimball, who did post-graduate research with Donna Goodwin, in the Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation, investigated the leisure experiences of five women with intellectual disabilities in two group homes. They found major differences in how leisure was experienced in each group home. In one, the women were provided with support and encouraged to make their own decisions about how they used their leisure time; there was a genuine interest in the women engaging in independent spontaneous leisure, according to Rossow-Kimball. In the other home leisure was supervised by the staff, scheduled into the activities of the home, and managed by the staff, which, the researchers say, doesn't teach the women how to discover what they like to do for leisure.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: Modest Benefit Of Surgery Compared To Non-Surgical Treatment

An article in this week's Surgery Special Issue of The Lancet reports that surgery for carpal tunnel syndrome in patients (without an indication of severe nerve damage known as denervation) provides better outcomes than non-surgical treatment. However, the clinical relevance of this difference is modest. The article is the work of Professor Jeffrey Jarvik, of the Harborview Medical Center, University of Washington, Seattle, USA, and colleagues. The authors included 116 patients from eight centres in this randomised controlled trial. 57 patients were assigned to carpal tunnel surgery and 59 patients were assigned to a precise non-surgical treatment including hand therapy and ultrasound. The primary outcome was hand function. After 12 months, it was measured by the Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Assessment Questionnaire (CTSAQ). This evaluation was implemented by research personnel uninformed of group assignment. Results showed that 77 percent (44) of the patients assigned to surgery indeed underwent surgery.

Leg Movement Training In Preterm Infants Demonstrates Positive Changes In Motor Skills

Preterm infants who receive leg movement training display feet-reaching behaviors similar to that of full-term infants, according to a randomized controlled trial reported in the October issue of Physical Therapy (PTJ), the scientific journal of the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA). This finding supports feet-reaching play as an early intervention strategy to encourage interaction with physical objects in preterm infants who have movement problems within the first months of postnatal life. Previous studies have shown that full-term infants make contact with toys using their feet before reaching with their hands. Studies also have shown that movement training advances feet reaching in full-term infants. Certain populations of preterm infants are known to be delayed in hand reaching; however, no studies have looked at feet-reaching in preterm infants. "The presence of feet reaching and a positive training effect in this population would suggest a novel and easily implemented intervention strategy to encourage early object interaction in infants with special needs, " said Jill C.

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