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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.