Study: Clinic Ball Pits Carry Bacterial Risks

It’s no secret that when it comes to their potential for bacterial awfulness, the children’s ball pits often found in fast food restaurants are the stuff of a germaphobe’s nightmares. Now it turns out that if not properly maintained, ball pits in physical therapy clinics are capable of inducing shudders too.

In a study recently published in the American Journal of Infection Control, researchers tested 6 ball pits in inpatient and outpatient physical therapy clinics in Georgia to find out what, if anything, those pits were harboring at a microbial level. Authors hope that the study will help to spark a conversation about standards for cleaning the enclosures—standards that they say have remained “elusive” to date.

To conduct the analysis, researchers collected 9 to 15 balls taken from different depths in each ball pit, and then swabbed the entire surface of each ball. Samples were then inoculated on agar plates and allowed to grow for 24 hours at 91.4 degrees Fahrenheit. After the incubation, samples were tested for the number of colony-forming units (CFUS) present. Here’s what researchers found:

Full story at APTA

CSM Delivers: Aging

As the US population continues to age, physical therapists (PTs) and physical therapist assistants (PTAs) will take on an even more transformative role in the health of society. Are you ready?

The 2019 APTA Combined Sections Meeting, set for January 23-26 in downtown Washington, DC, can help keep you on top of some of the latest issues in healthy aging. Check out these suggestions, and find other relevant programming by searching the CSM programming page.

Geriatric Low Back Pain: Managing Influences, Experiences, and Consequences
This session focuses on the biological, psychological, cognitive, and social influences of geriatric low back pain (LBP), and presents a comprehensive model of geriatric LBP that accounts for the interface between pain and impaired movement, as well mobility and health risks associated with geriatric LBP. Find out about age-appropriate measurement tools and interventions for geriatric LBP and learn how to implement a comprehensive, standardized management approach that optimizes recovery and mitigates health risks associated with geriatric LBP. Friday, January 25, 8:00 am–10:00 am.

Full story at APTA

UA scientist hopes to heal bone fractures using combination of 3D printing and adult stem cells

Not all broken bones heal. But one scientist at the University of Arizona hopes to remedy that problem using a combination of 3D printing and adult stem cells.

“Imagine an impact that causes half of a long bone to shatter so that it can’t be put back together – no current surgical treatment can ensure that kind of injury will heal,” explained John A. Szivek, PhD, a scientist at the UA College of Medicine – Tucson. “This is a really big problem for the military, where explosions or combat injuries can cause big bone defects.”

To help military personnel with these devastating injuries, Dr. Szivek, a biomedical engineer and professor of orthopedic surgery, has received a five-year, $2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Defense to launch a study to determine how to heal bone fractures using a combination of 3D printing and adult stem cells.

Full story at news-medical.net

8 stretches for the middle back

Mid back pain or stiffness can have a significant impact on daily life. However, certain stretches can help relieve pain and improve flexibility.

Back pain, especially short-term pain, is one of the most common medical complaints in the United States. A variety of lifestyle factors, medical conditions, and injuries can lead to pain in the middle back.

Symptoms of mid back pain can include:

  • short, sharp pains
  • a dull, constant ache
  • muscle tightness or stiffness
  • a reduced range of motion\

Full story at Medical News Today

What’s New at PTNow? More Guidelines and Systematic Reviews Enrich an Already-Robust Resource

The range of conditions that physical therapists (PTs) and physical therapist assistants (PTAs) face every day can be expansive, and staying on top of the latest effective treatment approaches can seem like an impossible task. PTNow is helping to change all that by bringing members the evidence they need in just a few clicks.

Best of all, the association’s flagship site for evidence-based practice resources continues to expand in ways that help PTs and PTAs easily find an even wider array of information. If you haven’t visited the site lately, check it out soon. Here’s a quick take on the latest additions.

Full story at APTA

Working through pain to get rid of pain: A physical therapist’s perspective

In my job as a physical therapist, the impact of the opioid epidemic is impossible to ignore. A large percentage of my patients are dealing with some degree of pain. For some, it is the result of a surgery, for others, a sports injury, and some have been living in chronic pain for over a decade. I understand why patients are prescribed opioids, and I don’t discount them as a valuable tool in treating acute pain. However, I believe it’s important to match the pharmaceutical intervention to the severity of the condition and provide a treatment plan that ultimately works toward little or no pharmacology whenever possible.

A recent study from Penn Medicine examined emergency room visits in the U.S. for ankle sprains — one of the most common injuries in sports for which the acute treatment is rest, ice, compression and elevation. An anti-inflammatory, such as ibuprofen, helps to reduce swelling and usually provides adequate pain relief. The researchers found on average 25 percent of these patients were prescribed an opioid in the ER. This is an example of a mismatch between injury and medical prescription. An ankle sprain will rarely necessitate an opioid prescription, and this study highlighted the over prescribing practices taking place across the nation — in some states more than others.

Full story at Orlando Sentinel

Paralysis breakthrough: Electrical implant helps man walk again

A recent case study could overturn existing beliefs about certain paralysis types. An approach combining spinal cord stimulation and physical therapy has now helped a man living for years with lower-body paralysis to stand and walk.

Paraplegia is a condition wherein an individual’s lower body is paralyzed.

A 29-year-old man left with the condition after a snowmobile accident in 2013 has recently been able to stand and walk with some assistance.

This is all thanks to an electrical implant that can stimulate nerves in the spinal cord.

Full story at Medical News Today

New study in STEM CELLS could lead to therapy that does away with joint replacement surgery

Durham, NC (October 31, 2018)– A study released today in STEM CELLS moves scientists a step closer to finding how to help the body regenerate joint cartilage ravaged by disease. Their work reveals a new method to quickly and efficiently produce virtually unlimited numbers of chondrocytes, the cells that form cartilage, from human skin cells converted to induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs). For the 54 million Americans suffering from arthritis – the nation’s Number One disability – this could be great news.

While a May 2018 report by Modern Healthcare says that currently over 1 million joint replacement surgeries occur every year in the United States alone — and that number is expected to exceed 4 million by 2030 — many medical researchers believe that the future of arthritis therapeutics lies in the application of stem cells to grow new joint cartilage (a process called “chondrogenesis”). Human iPSCs (hiPSCs) are a promising cell source for cartilage regenerative therapies and in vitro disease-modeling systems due to their pluripotency and unlimited proliferation capacity. Furthermore, iPSCs provide a means of developing patient-specific or genetically engineered cartilage to screen for osteoarthritis drugs.

“That’s why finding methods to rapidly and efficiently differentiate hiPSCs into chondrocytes in a reproducible and robust manner is critical,” said Farshid Guilak, Ph.D., from Washington University’s Center of Regenerative Medicine and Shriners Hospitals for Children (St. Louis, Mo.). He is a co-senior author of the study in STEM CELLS along with Charles A. Gersbach, Ph.D., from the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Duke University (Durham, N.C). Scientists from Cytex Therapeutics (Durham, N.C.) and Stanford University (Stanford, Calif.) also participated.

Full story at Stem Cells Portal

Study reveals no benefit to costly and risky brain cooling after brain injury

The study, published today, in the Journal of the American Medical Association and presented at the same time at the Congress of European Society of Intensive Care Medicine in Paris by lead authors, Professors Jamie Cooper and Alistair Nichol, looked at the outcomes for 511 patients across six countries who had traumatic brain injury (TBI).

An estimated 50-60 million people, worldwide, will suffer a TBI this year and more than half of the world’s population will suffer at least one TBI during their lifetime. There has long been controversy around the benefits of brain cooling in the Intensive Care Unit following a TBI, in the belief the cooling or hypothermia reduces brain inflammation and consequent brain damage.

Professors Cooper, and Nichol, together with Lisa Higgins, and Tony Trapani, Dr. Dashiell Gantner, Profs Michael Bailey, Stephen Bernard, Peter Cameron Jeffrey Rosenfeld and Andrew Forbes all from Monash, together with colleagues in Queensland, Western Australia, New Zealand, France, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia, divided the TBI patients into two groups: those that received hypothermia treatment as soon as possible post-injury, often in the ambulance on the way to an emergency department, and half who did not receive the therapy. The study, called POLAR (Prophylactic hypothermia to lessen traumatic brain injury) ran from seven years from 2010.

Full story at Medical Xpress

Survey Finds ‘Considerable Variation’ in Postsurgery ACL Rehab

Authors of a new study say that while guidelines exist for rehabilitation after anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction, there remains “a large degree of variation in rehabilitation progression” among physical therapists (PTs), particularly when it comes to timing of the progression, strength assessment, and use of patient-reported outcome measures

Those conclusions, published in the Journal of Orthopaedic and Sports Physical Therapy were based on results of an online survey of 1, 074 members of APTA’s Academy of Orthopaedic Physical Therapy, American Academy of Sports Physical Therapy, and Private Practice Section. Authors believe that this is the first time PTs’ private practice patterns in this area have been studied.

As for the respondent pool, the majority of PTs treated patients in a private practice or hospital-based outpatient facility. Just over half (52.5%) held American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties certifications in either orthopaedic or sports physical therapy, and 92.5% were APTA members. Authors of the study also classified respondents by the volume of post anterior cruciate ligament repair (ACLR) patients they treated annually, with 32.3% falling into the “low volume” category of 1 to 5 per year, 28.8% grouped into a “medium volume” category of 6 to 10 patients per year, and 37.9% categorized as “high volume,” with 11 or more post-ACLR patients per year. Researchers also tracked respondents by years in practice.

Full story at APTA