Ready for World Physical Therapy Day?

Get ready to celebrate physical therapy as a worldwide profession, and spread the message that physical therapists (PTs) and physical therapist assistants (PTAs) help people take part in society.

World Physical Therapy Day will take place on September 8, and APTA members still have time to join in the celebration. This year the theme is “Fit to Take Part,” emphasizing the PT’s role in helping people with long-term illnesses or disabilities fulfill their potential by maximizing movement and functional ability.

For more information on World Physical Therapy Day, visit APTA

Programmed Stem Cells Grow Axons, Connect With Brain in Rats With SCI

Neurons developed from adult human stem cells and grafted into rats with spinal injuries have produced nerve cells with axons that have grown “virtually over the entire length” of the rat’s central nervous system. The success of the cells, derived from an 86-year-old man, support the idea that “intrinsic neuronal mechanisms” can overcome the barriers to growth associated with the injured adult spinal cord.

“While many experimental efforts have attempted to overcome the inhibitory nature of the [central nervous system], a cell in the proper growth state can still extend axons, even in this inhibitory milieu,” said senior author Mark Tusznyski, MD, PhD. The successful growth was reported online in the August 7 issue of Neuron.

The procedure began with the conversion of skin cells from a healthy 86-year-old man into induced pluripotent stems cells (IPSCs), which can be programmed to become nearly any kind of cell. After programming the IPSCs to become nerve cells, the cells were grafted into rats with 2-week-old spinal injuries.

Full story of study of stem cell growth in bats at APTA

Free Webinar Promotes Falls Prevention Initiative

Learn how you can participate in Falls Prevention Awareness Day (FPAD), coming this year on September 23, by attending a free Webinar on August 21 hosted by the National Council on Aging (NCOA). The webinar will explore:

  • What’s new in falls prevention programming and what’s working in communities nationwide
  • How organizations are integrating falls prevention programming into their other offerings
  • Strategies to recruit older adult participants
  • New initiatives for partnering with emergency medical services, community health workers, and others

For more information on the free Webinar, visit APTA

Physical Therapy as Effective as, Less Costly Than Steroids for Shoulder Pain

A study published online in the August 7 Annuals of Internal Medicine has found that when it comes to shoulder impingement syndrome (SIS), physical therapy and steroid injections work equally well, but physical therapy is the less costly option.

Researchers followed 104 patients with SIS who were split into 2 groups, the first group receiving up to 3 corticosteroid injections (CSIs) of 40 mg triamcinolone acetonide 1 month apart, and the second group receiving physical therapy twice weekly for 3 weeks and prescribed home exercises. Participants ranged in age from 18 to 65.

After 1 year, researchers monitored changes to Shoulder Pain and Disability scores, as well as Global Rating of Change scores, Numeric Pain Rating Scale scores, and health care use. They found that both groups reported a 50% improvement in pain and disability scores; however, patients receiving CSIs had more SIS-related visits to their primary care provider than the physical therapy group (60% vs 37%) and required additional steroid injections at a rate higher than requests for additional physical therapy in the therapy group (38% vs 20%).

Full story of PT versus steroids for shoulder pain at APTA

Pediatrics Section and Scoliosis Research Society Emphasize Importance of Early Detection

The effectiveness of bracing in treating adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS) has been well established, but early detection is key. That’s where physical therapists (PTs) come in.

The APTA Section on Pediatrics is working with the Scoliosis Research Society (SRS) to develop resources for physical therapists (PTs) on the detection and management of AIS. SRS has already issued Screening Procedure Guidelines for Spinal Deformity. 

Full story research society on early detection at APTA

WCPT Award Nomination Deadlines Coming Soon

The World Confederation for Physical Therapy (WCPT) is seeking nominations for its awards program that honors physical therapists (PTs) who have contributed to the profession or global health at an international level. The WCPT deadline for nominations is August 31; however, nominations seeking support from APTA must be submitted to APTA staff by August 15.

There are 4 award categories open to nomination by WCPT’s member organizations, regions, or subgroups: the Mildred Elson Award, the International Service Award, the Humanitarian Service Award, and the Leadership in Rehabilitation Award. Descriptions of the awards and eligibility criteria can be found on WCPT’s awards webpage. Nomination forms are required for all submissions and can be obtained by contacting Rene Malone.

For more information on WCPT nominations, visit APTA

APTA Challenges AHA Report on ‘Association’ Between CMT and Stroke

A recent American Heart Association (AHA) statement that cervical manipulation may “play a role” in stroke fails to consider how physical therapist (PT) clinical judgment can reduce this risk, and overlooks the fact that manipulation is associated with far fewer complications than drug-based and surgical interventions, according to a news release from APTA. The AHA statement focused on an analysis of strokes caused by cervical arterial dissections (CDs).

“Incidents of stroke associated with cervical manipulation are rare,” according to the APTA statement, which cites studies from 2002 and 2010 that found “no strong evidence” connecting cervical manipulation therapy (CMT) and adverse events.

Full story of association between CMT and strokes at APTA

PTs Sought to Review Musculoskeletal Resource

Qualified physical therapists (PTs) have an opportunity to contribute to the development of an important work on the current state of musculoskeletal diseases in the US.

The US Bone and Joint Initiative (USBJI) is seeking reviewers to assist in the revision of The Burden of Musculoskeletal Disease in the United States (BMUS), a resource that describes the musculoskeletal landscape as reflected in data from the National Center for Health Statistics’ 2008 National Health Interview Survey.

For more information on this opportunity, visit APTA

New Trainers Ready to Advance Clinical Instruction

The physical therapy profession now has 28 more reasons to feel good about the future of clinical training.

On July 1, 28 physical therapists (PTs) and physical therapist assistants (PTAs) were awarded the Clinical Trainer credential that will allow them to deliver APTA’s Credentialed Clinical Instructor Program (CCIP), a training offering that refines clinical instructor skills and provides them with the tools to promote APTA’s professional core values. The 28 new Credentialed Clinical Trainers will be responsible for conducting and administering APTA’s CCIP courses, teaching selected content of the CCIP using active training strategies, and managing the assessment center that awards the APTA Clinical Instructor credential.

To become a Credentialed Clinical Trainer you must attend APTA’s 3-day CCIP Trainer course in Alexandria, Virginia, where you will be instructed on how to provide high-quality, active learning clinical instructor education, how to deliver a competency assessment program, and how to effectively manage, coordinate, and administer the CCIP.

Full story clinical instruction trainers at APTA

New Telehealth Bill Includes PTs, Could Mean Big Changes for Medicare

A newly introduced bill aimed at expanding the use of telemedicine in the Medicare system would allow reimbursable telehealth services for physical therapy and permit use of the technology in more populated areas.

Called the Medicare Telehealth Parity Act of 2014, the bill introduced by Reps Mike Thompson (D-CA) and Gregg Harper (R-MI) would gradually roll out changes over 4 years. The changes would eventually remove current limits on the population areas that qualify for Medicare’s telehealth reimbursements, allow for much-expanded remote patient monitoring, and include rural health clinics as approved telehealth care sites.

Another important feature of the bill: a provision that outpatient therapy services, including physical therapy, delivered via telehealth technologies would be reimbursable under Medicare.

Full story of new telehealth bill at APTA