Too Much Focus on Productivity Increases Risk of Unethical Behavior, Say Researchers

Employers that overemphasize productivity goals over evidence-based practice (EBP) may inadvertently set the stage for unethical behaviors by physical therapists (PTs) and physical therapist assistants (PTAs), say authors of an unedited new study published ahead of print in Archives of Rehabilitation Research and Clinical Translation. Organizational culture, say authors, is “the most easily changeable” factor in promoting ethical behavior.

In an email survey, researchers asked licensed PTs and PTAs in the state of Texas about their practice settings, their employers’ use of productivity goals, and observed unethical behaviors, such as inappropriately discharging patients or falsifying or changing documentation.

The majority of the 3,446 respondents were women (70.5%) and had been practicing an average of 15 years. One-third of respondents were PTAs. The most-represented practice settings were skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) (23.1%) and private outpatient clinics (17.7%).

Full story at APTA

Where Does Chronic Pain Begin? Scientists Close In on Its Origins

A new study by researchers at The University of Texas at Dallas, UT MD Anderson Cancer Center, UT Health Science Center at Houston and Baylor College of Medicine has produced evidence of the source of chronic pain in humans, revealing several new targets for pain treatment.

The paper — published March 19 in Brain, one of the world’s oldest neurology journals — examined specialized nerve cells clustered near the base of the spine. Researchers took advantage of an exceedingly rare opportunity to study these nerves, called dorsal root ganglia (DRG), removed from cancer patients undergoing surgery at MD Anderson.

The researchers cataloged variations in RNA expression in the dorsal root ganglia cells of patients differing by pain state and sex. Using RNA sequencing, a specialized form of gene sequencing, on those DRG cells yielded a list of promising biochemical pathways for which researchers might be able to devise analgesic drugs.

Full story at utdallas.edu

Caterpillars could hold the secret to new treatment for osteoarthritis

A substance from a fungus that infects caterpillars could offer new treatment hope for sufferers of osteoarthritis according to new research.

Cordycepin is an active compound isolated from the caterpillar fungus Cordyceps militaris and has proved to be effective in treating osteoarthritis by blocking inflammation in a new way, through reducing a process called polyadenylation. The research was undertaken by scientists from the University of Nottingham and supported by funding from Versus Arthritis. The findings have been published today in Scientific Reports.

Dr. Cornelia De Moor from the University of Nottingham’s School of Pharmacy led the study and said: “The natural compound cordycepin is derived from a caterpillar fungus which is famous in the Far East for its medicinal properties. In this paper we show that orally administrated cordycepin reduces pain and halts disease progression in animal models of osteoarthritis. Intriguingly, it does this by a different mechanism than any other known anti-inflammatory painkiller, through affecting the last step of making a messenger RNA, polyadenylation. This means that medicines derived from cordycepin may help patients for whom other treatments have failed. We hope that cordycepin will prove to be the founder of a new class of pain killer, the polyadenylation inhibitors. There is a long way to go before a cordycepin derived medicine reaches patients, but our work is very promising we are very excited about the prospects.”

Full story at Medical Xpress

Study: Light Physical Activity Could Help to Lower Risk of Coronary and Cardiovascular Problems

No one doubts the positive health effects of regular moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA), but now researchers are finding that even light physical activity can reduce the risk of coronary heart disease and cardiovascular disease. The latest findings, focused on women age 65 and older, echo revised US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) activity guidelines strongly supported by APTA.

The recent study, published in JAMA Network Open, asked 5,861 women with an average age of 78.5 years to wear a hip accelerometer for a week to establish PA rates, and then tracked rates of later coronary heart disease (CHD) and cardiovascular disease (CVD) for nearly 5 years. Researchers were particularly interested in the effect of light physical activity (PA)—between 1.6 and 2.9 metabolic equivalent tasks (METs)—on the risk of experiencing CVD and CHD.

Researchers divided the participants into 4 groups based on the average amount of time spent per day in light PA: 36-236 minutes, 235-285 minutes, 286-333 minutes, and 334-617 minutes. They also tracked rates of MVPA, as well as demographic, educational, and health information including the presence of chronic conditions, alcohol consumption, smoker or nonsmoker status, and use of antihypertensive and antilipidemic medications. The population studied was a mix of white (48%), black (33.5%), and Hispanic (17.6%) women.

Full story at APTA

What to know about MCL tears

A tear to the medial collateral ligament in the knee can cause pain, swelling, and a lack of stability in the knee. Treatment is usually with ice, a knee brace, and physical therapy. Surgery may be necessary in rare cases.

The medial collateral ligament (MCL) connects the bones in the thigh and lower leg. The MCL runs along the inside of the knee, while the lateral collateral ligament (LCL) runs along the outside of the knee. Together, these two ligaments, along with others, help to keep the knee in place.

Ligaments consist of strong connective tissue. A sprain stretches the ligament, which can become loose after a severe injury. A tear is a more severe injury that splits the ligament in two. When someone tears the MCL, it may not hold the knee in place as securely.

Full story at Medical News Today

New Device Uses Eye Movements To Measure Concussions In Patients

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Bella Adkins is a gymnast and cheerleader, but then a concussion from snowboarding put her on the sidelines.

“When I came home, I was like, I think I need to get checked out. I could tell something was wrong,” said Bella. “Any light or sound that was loud or bright really affected me. I can’t really focus on one thing without my mind going somewhere else.”

She was crushed.

“I can’t even go to, like, the cheerleading games, because it’s really loud and all the bright lights,” she said.

Her pediatrician recommended physical therapy, and Bella came to River Therapies.

It’s currently the only place in the Pittsburgh area using a new device called the I-PAS. It uses eye movements to give the therapist an objective measure of impairment and progress.

Full story at KDKA Pittsburgh

Hand pressure points: Everything you need to know

The human body contains a lot of pressure points, and some people believe that pressing on these points can affect other parts of the body and overall health.

There is limited research to support the use of pressure points to help a person heal. However, there is much more research about the use of acupuncture, which involves needles instead of just pressure.

Using pressure points is a noninvasive and relatively risk-free practice, so it is usually safe to use alongside doctor-recommended treatments.

Practitioners of acupressure and reflexology use pressure points in their healing treatments.

Full story at Medical News Today

Late-blooming exercisers may get the same benefits as lifelong gym rats

If you weren’t active in your youth, it’s easy to feel like you’re starting off at a disadvantage. Maintaining fitness is so much easier than gaining it, and It’s painful to feel like you’re the only one struggling at the gym. If you’re in your 40s or 50s and looking to get fit for the first time, you might wonder if it’s even worth the effort.

A new study suggests it is. People who start exercising later in life—and yes, we mean as late as your 50s—reduce their mortality risk just as much as people who’ve been exercising their whole lives as compared to folks who are completely sedentary. What’s more, in this new study that held true regardless of how a person’s BMI fluctuated throughout their lives.

The study, which was published in JAMA Network Open, shows how powerful exercise is and why it’s so important to be active late into your life. Researchers looked at 315,059 participants in total and separated them into three basic experimental groups: those who were active throughout their lives, those who were inactive as youngsters but became active as they got older, and those who were active youths who became less active in their later years.

Full story at Popular Science

Top 10 stretches for shoulder tightness

Shoulder stretches can help relieve muscle tension, pain, and tightness in the neck and shoulders.

Stiff or tight shoulders can cause discomfort and limit a person’s range of motion. If the tightness goes unchecked, it can lead to neck pain and cause tension headaches.

In this article, we describe 10 shoulder stretches and their benefits. We also discuss what causes shoulder tightness and how to prevent it.

Full story at Medical News Today

Researchers: Aquatic Exercise Offers Similar Results With Less Pain for Patients With Chronic LBP

Aquatic exercise, a common physical therapist intervention for patients with chronic low back pain (CLBP), shouldn’t be viewed as “less strenuous or less effective” than land-based exercise, according to authors of a recent study in PTJ (Physical Therapy). In fact, they write, water-based exercise can be beneficial for people whose movement is limited by pain.

Researchers recruited 40 men aged 18 to 45 with a healthy body mass index. Half of participants had experienced CLBP for greater than 12 weeks; the control group experienced no back pain. Both groups performed 15 aquatic exercises and 15 land-based exercises with movement patterns similar to the aquatic exercises. Fourteen of the exercises included upper extremity dynamic movements, and 16 focused on the lower extremities.

Full story at APTA