Women in Physical Therapy Summit: Fueling Change in the Profession

Next professional conference you go to, take a look around. Chances are you’ll see a disproportionate number of men at podiums, on panels, and walking around with all those extra ribbons on their ID badges—even when the profession itself is supposedly “female dominated.” It’s a symptom of a bigger problem that many people, including Karen Litzy, PT, DPT, would like to change.

Litzy will be the first to admit that there’s much work to be done. But as the organizer of the Women in Physical Therapy Summit, now in its third year, Litzy can take some pride in knowing that when it comes to at least 1 conference, the problem has been turned on its head.

The 2-day summit, coming up on September 21 at John Jay College in New York City, focuses on the contributions women have made and the ways they can have an even greater impact. Men are of course welcome (and do attend), but the emphasis is on women—not just as speakers, but as sources of inspiration, insight, and experience. The event is sponsored in part by APTA.

Full story at APTA

How does rheumatoid arthritis affect the ankles?

Rheumatoid arthritis can affect the ankle joints in a similar way to other joints, causing stiffness, swelling, and pain.

Most often, rheumatoid arthritis or RA affects the hands and feet, but, less commonly, it can also affect the ankles.

The condition typically impacts on smaller joints first, such as the toe joints in the foot. It may then move to larger joints, such as the ankles. RA in the ankles can impede walking and cause considerable discomfort.

In this article, we take a close look at how RA affects the ankles, including the symptoms, and how people can relieve pain and swelling.

Full story at Medical News Today

Study shows how exercise generates new neurons, improves cognition in Alzheimer’s mouse

A study by a Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) research team finds that neurogenesis -inducing the production of new neurons—in the brain structure in which memories are encoded can improve cognitive function in a mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease. Their investigation shows that those beneficial effects on cognition can be blocked by the hostile inflammatory environment present in the brain of patients with Alzheimer’s disease and that physical exercise can “clean up” the environment, allowing new nerve cells to survive and thrive and improving cognition in the Alzheimer’s mice.

“In our study we showed that exercise is one of the best ways to turn on neurogenesis and then, by figuring out the molecular and genetic events involved, we determined how to mimic the beneficial effects of exercise through gene therapy and pharmacological agents,” says Rudolph Tanzi, Ph.D., director of the Genetics and Aging Research Unit, vice-chair of the Department of Neurology and co-director of the Henry and Alison McCance Center for Brain Health at MGH and senior author of the paper published in Science.

Lead author, Se Hoon Choi, Ph.D., of the Genetics and Aging Research Unit adds, “While we do not yet have the means for safely achieving the same effects in patients, we determined the precise protein and gene targets for developing ways to do so in the future.”

Full story at Medical Xpress

New legislation to provide licensure clarity for sports medicine professionals passes the U.S. Senate

The Sports Medicine Licensure Clarity Act (S. 808) has successfully passed the U.S. Senate, taking another critical step forward. Introduced by Senators John Thune (R-SD) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) in 2017, this legislation clarifies medical liability rules for sports medicine physicians, athletic trainers and other medical professionals to ensure they’re properly covered by their liability insurance while traveling with athletic teams to another state.

The bill previously passed out of the U.S. Senate HELP Committee in June and will now go back to the U.S. House of Representatives to approve language changes made by the Senate. The House approved a slightly different version of the bill in 2017. Once the House approves the changes, it will advance to the President for signature.

“The passage of S. 808 will ensure patients are able to receive quality care from their respective medical teams, no matter where they are competing,” said AMSSM President Chad Asplund, MD, MPH. “This is another decisive step benefiting everyone involved in taking care of athletic teams.”

Full story at news-medical.net

Doctor with Guillain Barré syndrome recovers back to normal life

Doctors do the darndest things. Take the one who walked right up to Dan Thomas, MD, at a lecture, got into the ready position, and proceeded to perform several squats as Thomas watched, puzzled.

“Dr. Thomas,” his squatting colleague said upon returning to upright, “I had Guillain Barré three years ago, and I just wanted to show you that if you work hard enough, you can get better.”

Ohhh, so it was about that, Thomas thought. It was a nice gesture, and from his wheelchair the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles gastroenterologist offered thanks. Thomas could hardly touch his finger to his chin, so he couldn’t see far enough out to imagine ever doing squats. He was merely on a nice excursion out from his hospital room, a break from the tedium of rehab and a chance to join with his peers.

Full story at news-medical.net

A recipe for regenerating nerve fibers across complete spinal cord injury

Neuroscientists at UCLA, Harvard University and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology have identified a three-pronged treatment that triggers axons—the tiny fibers that link our nerve cells and enable them to communicate—to regrow after complete spinal cord injury in rodents. Not only did the axons grow through scars, they could also transmit signals across the damaged tissue.

If researchers can produce similar results in human studies, the findings could lead to a therapy to restore axon connections in people living with spinal cord injury. Nature publishes the research in its Aug. 29 online edition.

“The idea was to deliver a sequence of three very different treatments and test whether the combination could stimulate disconnected axons to regrow across the scar in the injured spinal cord,” said lead author Michael Sofroniew, a professor of neurobiology at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. “Previous studies had tested each of the three treatments separately, but never together. The combination proved to be the key.”

Full story at Medical Xpress

Sharp increase in falls in women during midlife

Falls are not just a problem of advanced age, according to researchers in Trinity College Dublin, who have identified a sharp increase in falls after the age of 40, particularly in women.

The research, which drew on data from TILDA (the Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing) as well as data from similar studies in Australia, Great Britain and the Netherlands, found that for women the prevalence of falls increases from the age of 40 on — 9% in 40-44 year olds, 19% in 45-49 year olds, 21% in 50-54 year olds, 27% in 55-59 year olds and 30% in 60-64 year olds.

The findings indicate that middle-age may be a critical life stage for interventions designed to prevent falls, according to the authors. The study incorporated the data from 19,207 men and women aged between 40 and 64 years. It has been recently published in the international journal PLOS ONE.

Full story at Science Daily

MedPAC Recommendations for PT Payment Decreases Met With Strong Responses From APTA, Private Practice Section, Alliance

The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) may be right in its claim that Medicare Part B payment should be increased for ambulatory evaluation and management (E&M) services, but it’s dead wrong when it says that those increases should be paid for by cuts to physical therapy-related payment: that’s the message APTA, its Private Practice Section (PPS), and the Alliance for Physical Therapy Quality and Innovation (Alliance) delivered to MedPAC recently.

The comments were provided in response to MedPAC’s 2018 report to Congress on Medicare. In the chapter titled “Rebalancing Medicare’s physician fee schedule toward ambulatory evaluation and management services,” MedPAC argues that ambulatory E&M services—defined by MedPAC as office visits, hospital outpatient department visits, visits to patients in other settings such as nursing facilities, and home visits—are “underpriced.” That’s a problem in need of fixing, MedPAC says, because E&M services “are critical for both primary and specialty care.”

MedPAC’s suggestion for how to pay for repriced E&M services, however, isn’t exactly a study in nuance. The commission recommends that the increase can be accomplished in a way that won’t hurt Medicare’s bottom line simply by reducing payment for a wide range of “procedures, images, and tests” that it believes are over-valued—including physical therapy-related services. Depending on the procedure, imaging, or test in question, the recommended cuts are as high as 3.8%.

Full story at APTA

PT, PTA, Student Involvement in Special Olympics is Improving Health…and Changing Attitudes

Vicki Tilley, PT, and Donna Bainbridge, PT, ATC, EdD, wanted to make a difference in the lives of others by working with Special Olympics. Along the way, Special Olympics returned the favor.

“I have a different lens now,” Tilley said. “Being able to engage, explore, and interact with the ID [intellectual disabilities] population in a way that’s positive has changed the way I think about people in general, and about inclusion and access.”

“My experiences with Special Olympics have shaped my entire career path in practice, research, and programming,” Bainbridge added. “I have a better understanding of the health needs of individuals with ID, and what we as physical therapists can do to improve the lives and function of people with ID at all ages.”

As Special Olympics celebrates its 50th year, Tilley and Bainbridge are marking their 19th year with the program, and their 18th with “Healthy Athletes,” an initiative that brings health professionals and students from multiple disciplines to provide education, screenings, and other services to athletes. Both were instrumental in the creation of FUNfitness, the branch of Healthy Athletes responsible for screenings and education around balance, strength, flexibility, and aerobics fitness. FUNfitness is primarily performed by physical therapists (PTs), physical therapist assistants (PTAs), and students.

Full story at APTA

HSS takes young patients with physical challenges on a surfing trip

Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS) made a splash this week with a surfing trip for young patients. Giving new meaning to the term “patient care,” the Adaptive Sports Academy at Lerner Children’s Pavilion at HSS treated 12 patients, along with some of their siblings, to sand and surf in Long Beach, Long Island.

The Academy enables young people with cerebral palsy or another physical challenge to experience the benefits of exercise. The program’s trips and recreational experiences aim to build their self-confidence, encourage independence, and increase physical activity and mobility. The excursions are offered without cost, thanks to the generosity of donors.

Adaptive surfing and other activities are competitive or recreational sports for people with disabilities. Sometimes rules or equipment is modified to meet the needs of participants. Some are understandably nervous at first, but they almost always exceed their own expectations and have a blast.

Full story at news-medical.net