Category: career

Using gene therapy to treat CTE

A new study shows the feasibility of using gene therapy to treat the progressive neurodegenerative disorder chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). The study, which demonstrated the effectiveness of direct delivery of gene therapy into the brain of a mouse model of CTE, is published in Human Gene Therapy.

Ronald Crystal and colleagues from Weill Cornell Medical College, New York, NY, coauthored the article entitled “Anti-Phospho-Tau Gene Therapy for Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy.”

There is currently no treatment for CTE, which is caused by repeated trauma to the central nervous system (CNS), such as that suffered by soldiers, athletes in contact sports, and in accident-related trauma. Inflammation results in the accumulation of hyperphosphorylated forms of Tau protein (pTau). Crystal et al. developed an adeno-associated virus (AAV) vector to deliver an anti-pTau antibody to the (CNS). They showed that direct delivery of the AAVrh.10anti-pTau directly into the hippocampus of brain-injured mice was associated with a significant reduction in pTau levels across the CNS. They propose that doses could be scaled up and this strategy could be effective in humans as well.

Full article at Nuero Science News

Judo holds promise for reducing sedentary behavior among children with autism

Judo may be just the right sport to increase the physical activity level among children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and holds promise for reducing sedentary behavior, which is linked to obesity and diabetes, according to a new study from the University of Central Florida.

The pilot study found increases in moderate to vigorous physical activity among participants during and beyond the study period and a reduction of sedentary time, although researchers say the amount was not statistically significant. However, the children in the study were eager to continue judo lessons beyond the scope of the study and the few who did not continue failed to do so because of scheduling or transportation problems, rather than lack of interest. More research is needed to see if the reduction in sedentary time will last.

Full article at News-Medical.net

New APTA-Supported CPG Looks at Best Ways to Improve Walking Speed, Distance for Individuals After Stroke, Brain Injury, and Incomplete SCI

The message
A new clinical practice guideline (CPG) supported by APTA and developed by the APTA Academy of Neurologic Physical Therapy concludes that when it comes to working with individuals who experienced an acute-onset central nervous system (CNS) injury 6 months ago or more, aerobic walking training and virtual reality (VR) treadmill training are the interventions most strongly tied to improvements in walking distance and speed. Other interventions such as strength training, circuit training, and cycling training also may be considered, authors write, but providers should avoid robotic-assisted walking training, body-weight supported treadmill training, and sitting/standing balance that doesn’t employ augmented visual inputs.

The study
The final recommendations in the CPG are the result of an extensive process that began with a scan of nearly 4,000 research abstracts and subsequent full-text review of 234 articles, further narrowed to 111 randomized controlled trials (RCTs), all focused on interventions related to CNS injuries, with outcome data that included measures of walking distance and speed. CPG panelists evaluated the data and developed recommendations, which were informed by data on patient preferences and submitted for expert and stakeholder review.

Full article at APTA

CONCUSSION RESEARCH FINALLY PUTS WOMEN ON THE SAME PLAYING FIELD

For the past decade-plus, sports fans have been deluged with concussion talk: From the movie Concussion to various documentaries and TV chatter about head injuries to stars and the future of America’s football colossus … and we still don’t know the half of it.

Why? Because studying concussions in the other half, women, is green science. Now, two researchers at Virginia Tech University, professor Steve Rowson and Ph.D. student Emily Kieffer are looking for answers on concussions and it has nothing to do with the NFL. Their landmark study is examining male and female rugby players side by side, using an engineered mouthpiece to measure impacts.

“We know a lot about 18- to 22-year-old males in a helmeted sport, football,” says Rowson, an associate professor in the department of biomedical engineering and mechanics. “This is going to be some of the first data to really identify concussion tolerance in unhelmeted populations.”

Full article at OZY

Small-Scale Study Finds Large-Scale Debt Among Recent DPT Grads

The message
It’s a limited study—based on a small number of respondents who are early-career APTA members in Florida—but the conclusions might sound familiar to recent graduates of DPT programs: The average amount of educational debt owed by entry-level PTs is equal to almost two years’ average salary, a 197% debt-to-income ratio. That’s more than the average debt-to-income ratio for newly minted family medicine physicians and veterinarians, according to the study’s author, and a burden that may affect a PT’s choice of practice setting.

The study
The analysis was developed from surveys administered to members of the Florida Physical Therapy Association’s Early Professional Special Interest Group (SIG) in 2016, all of whom were entry-level professionals (0-5 years after graduation) and practicing as PTs in Florida. The final results were based on responses from 86 individuals (out of approximately 350 PT SIG members) who answered questions related to income, amount of debt held, and clinical practice choices. The study asserts that the sample reflects “all major practice settings.” The study was authored by APTA member Steven Ambler, PT, DPT, MPH, PhD.

Full article at APTA

Athletes are better at tuning out background brain noise

People who play sports appear to have an enhanced ability to process sounds from their environment, according to new research.

Scientists at Northwestern University in Evanston, IL, measured brain activity relating to sound processing in athletes and nonathletes.

They found that due to a stronger ability to lessen the background electrical noise in their brains, the athletes were better at processing signals from external sounds.

The team reports the findings in a recent paper in the journal Sports Health: A Multidisciplinary Approach.

Full story at Medical News Today

6 Non-Clinical Skills of the School-Based Physical Therapist

As a school-based physical therapist, I wear many hats. Movement expert, advocate, safety police, that guy who runs around playing tag on the playground. In addition to these, I have the opportunity to build many non-clinical skills in my role serving students. Here are six non-clinical skills used by school-based physical therapists, and how to apply them outside of your clinical role!

Six non-clinical skills used by the school-based physical therapist

1) Collaboration with key stakeholders

This is a big one.

The success of my students in accessing their education depends in large part on my ability to effectively communicate and collaborate with a wide-ranging team of individuals.

Full article at The Non-Clinical PT

Teen Can Return to School After Undergoing Free Surgery to Correct Her Extreme Bow-Leggedness

These incredible before and after photos show the transformation of a teenager who was given free surgery to correct her extremely bowed legs.

14-year-old Valerie—who surgeons declined to fully name—developed bowed legs at the age of four and had such low self-confidence, she convinced her parents to pull her out of school.

She joined her uncle’s tailoring shop as an apprentice and worked hard, despite the fact that her harshly-angled legs arched outwards from her hips, making it difficult for her to walk.

The talented seamstress was busy sewing when a customer told her that a hospital boat operated by the charity Mercy Ships had docked near her West African home in Cotonou, Benin.

Full story at Good News Network

Telemedicine may be as effective as in-person visit for people with many neurologic disorders

For people with many neurologic disorders, seeing the neurologist by video may be as effective as an in-person visit, according to a review of the evidence conducted by the American Academy of Neurology (AAN). The evidence review examined all available studies on use of telemedicine for several neurologic conditions – stroke being one of the conditions that is well-validated and highly utilizes telemedicine – and is published in the December 4, 2019, online issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the AAN. The results indicate that a diagnosis from a neurologist by video for certain neurologic conditions is likely to be as accurate as an in-person visit.

Telemedicine is the use of video conferencing or other technology for doctor visits from another location. The patient could be at home or at a local doctor’s office.

Full story at News-Medical

One in three U.S. high schools have no athletic trainers

One in every three high schools in the U.S. has no access to an athletic trainer, according to a large study.

Even among the schools with some access, in roughly half the trainer is only part-time, the researchers report in the Journal of Athletic Training.

“Every athlete who participates in sport at the high school level deserves the best when it comes to emergency best practices and athletic injuries,” said lead author Robert Huggins of the University of Connecticut, in Storrs.

Athletic trainers provide emergency and non-emergency care for athletes and are the main healthcare professionals trained in injury prevention for physical activity. At the high school level, they coordinate care and follow-up, conduct rehabilitation and return players to the game. They help with concussions, orthopedic injuries, eating disorders, heat illnesses, heart issues, weight management, diabetic episodes and substance abuse concerns.

Full story at Reuters