Category: medical

Prosthetic limbs represented like hands in brain

The human brain can take advantage of brain resources originally devoted to the hand to represent a prosthetic limb, a new UCL-led study concludes.

Among people with only one hand, the brain area that enables us to recognise hands can also recognise a prosthetic hand, particularly among those who use a prosthesis regularly, according to the new Brain paper.

The study provides the first account of how artificial limbs are represented in the brains of amputees.

“While the use of a prosthesis can be very beneficial to people with one hand, most people with one hand prefer not to use one regularly, so understanding how they can be more user-friendly could be very valuable,” said the study’s lead author, Dr Tamar Makin (UCL Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience).

Full story at Medical Xpress

How does exercise preserve the aging brain?

Further evidence that doing aerobic exercise can preserve brain health and function — and thereby reduce the risk of dementia — is revealed in a study of older individuals with slight but noticeable declines in memory and thinking.

The researchers — from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas — think that their study is the first to use an objective measure of aerobic capacity to assess the relationship between white matter integrity, cognitive performance, and cardiorespiratory fitness in older individuals with mild cognitive impairment (MCI).

“This research,” explains first study author Kan Ding, an assistant professor of neurology and neurotherapeutics, “supports the hypothesis that improving people’s fitness may improve their brain health and slow down the aging process.”

Full story at Medical News Today

What is iliotibial band syndrome and how is it treated?

People who exercise regularly, particularly runners, are prone to experience pain in the outer part of the knee. When this occurs, iliotibial band syndrome may be the cause.

Iliotibial (IT) band syndrome is often caused by repetitively bending the knee during physical activities, such as running, cycling, swimming, and climbing.

The IT band is a group of fibers that run the length of the upper leg, from the hip to the top of the shin.

Full story at Medical New Today

APTA Physical Therapy Outcomes Registry Again Receives CMS Designation for MIPS Reporting

APTA’s Physical Therapy Outcomes Registry (Registry) has been approved again by the US Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) as a qualified clinical data registry (QCDR). The designation for 2018 means that physical therapists (PTs) who participate in the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) program can submit their data directly from the Registry, but the CMS approval is also an acknowledgment that APTA offers a robust, reliable system for tracking and benchmarking patient outcomes.

Although voluntary for now, PT participation in MIPS could be mandatory as early as 2019, making it important to become familiar with the system (APTA encourages eligible PTs to voluntarily participate in MIPS now).The Registry’s QCDR status will be particularly helpful for practices whose electronic health records (EHRs) do not have the capability to report directly to MIPS.

According to Heather Smith, PT, MPH, APTA’s director of quality, the value of the Registry goes well beyond MIPS data submission.

Full story at APTA

From PTJ: Office Work Doesn’t Have To Be a Pain in the Neck

Office workers with neck pain may benefit from workplace-based strengthening exercises, especially those focused on the neck and shoulder, say authors of a recent systematic review.

Among all occupations, office workers are at the highest risk for neck pain, with approximately half of all office workers experiencing neck pain each year. “Workplace-based interventions are becoming important to reduce the burden of neck pain,” researchers write, “due to the increasing responsibility of companies toward employee health, and the potential cost-savings and productivity gains associated with a healthy workforce.”

Full story at APTA

What causes muscle soreness and stiffness?

Muscle stiffness is when the muscles feel tight and difficult to move, particularly after resting.

Muscles stiffness can also be accompanied by pain, cramping, and discomfort.

It is usually not a cause for concern and can be treated with home remedies and stretching.

In this article, we look at some causes of muscle stiffness, as well as home remedies and when to see a doctor.

Full story at Medical News Today

CDC: 40% of Patients With Arthritis Don’t Receive Exercise Counseling From Providers

Better, but still plenty of room for improvement—that’s the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC’s) take on a recent analysis of the rate at which health care providers are counseling patients with arthritis to engage in physical activity (PA). The good news: the percentage of individuals with arthritis who received provider counseling for exercise grew by 17.6% between 2002 and 2014. The bad news: even after that growth, nearly 4 in 10 patients with arthritis still aren’t receiving any information from their providers on the benefits of PA.

The CDC analysis, which appeared in a recent edition of its Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, uses data from the National Health Interview Survey gathered in 2002 and 2014. In those years, the survey included a question on whether respondents had been told they have “arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, gout, lupus, or fibromyalgia,” as well as a question asking whether “a doctor or other health professional [has] ever suggested physical activity or exercise to help your arthritis or joint symptoms?”

Full story at APTA

An opioid remedy that works: Treat pain and addiction at the same time

Seven years ago, Robert Kerley, who makes his living as a truck driver, was loading drywall when a gust of wind knocked him off the trailer. Kerley fell 14 feet and hurt his back.

For pain, a series of doctors prescribed him a variety of opioids: Vicodin, Percocet and OxyContin.

In less than a year, the 45-year-old from Federal Heights, Colo., said he was hooked. “I spent most of my time high, laying on the couch, not doing nothing, falling asleep everywhere,” he said.

Full story at Science Daily

Study identifies exercises to help prevent chronic back pain in runners

A new study from The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center examines what may cause chronic back pain in runners and the exercises to help prevent it.

The study, published in the Journal of Biomechanics, suggests that runners with weak deep core muscles are at higher risk of developing low back pain. And, unfortunately, most people’s deep core muscles aren’t nearly as strong as they should be.

To examine the role of the superficial and deep core muscles, researchers used motion detection technology and force-measuring floor plates to estimate muscle movements during activity.

Full story at news-medical.net

Study: Referral to Physical Therapy for LBP Reduces Odds of Later Opioid Prescription—Even When Patients Don’t Follow Up on the Referral

There’s solid evidence that physical therapy as a first-line approach for low back pain (LBP) improves outcomes, but not many studies have focused on the factors that are associated with referral to physical therapy in the first place, regardless of later participation in treatment. Now authors of a recent study believe they’ve found associations indicating that the very act of referral for physical therapy may point to the ways a primary care provider’s approach to LBP can affect patient perceptions and reduce odds of later opioid use, even when the patient doesn’t follow through with the referral.

The study, published in the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine looked at data from 454 Medicaid enrollees who were initially treated by a primary care provider for LBP, of which 215 received a referral for physical therapy. While researchers were interested in differences between the referral and nonreferral groups, the target of their study was something they believe is missing in current research: an examination of the entire referral population, regardless of whether those patients followed up with actual physical therapy.

Full story at APTA