Category: Traumatic Brain Injury

How Early Intervention Changed My Son’s Life

The doorbell rings at our apartment eight times each week, and my son knows it’s time to play with one of his friends. Patricia helps him learn to walk up the stairs. Lauren helps him use both hands to roll Play-Doh. Alaina helps him profess his love for macaroni and cheese.

We have an All-Star team of cheerful and experienced therapists dedicated to helping him navigate the world. It has already changed his life, and it didn’t cost us a penny.

This is Early Intervention, a national program created in 1986 to help children under age 3 who have developmental delays and disabilities. In New York State, where we live, the program serves nearly 70,000 children each year who have conditions like autism, Down syndrome and vision impairment. Some children, like my son, have a mild disability, and others have more serious challenges.

Full article at the New York Times

Study finds dopamine, biological clock link to snacking, overeating and obesity

Coinciding with this increase in weight are ever-rising rates of heart disease, diabetes, cancer and health complications caused by obesity, such as hypertension. Even Alzheimer’s disease may be partly attributable to obesity and physical inactivity.

“The diet in the U.S. and other nations has changed dramatically in the last 50 years or so, with highly processed foods readily and cheaply available at any time of the day or night,” Ali Güler, a professor of biology at the University of Virginia, said. “Many of these foods are high in sugars, carbohydrates and calories, which makes for an unhealthy diet when consumed regularly over many years.”

In a study published Thursday in the journal Current Biology, Güler and his colleagues demonstrate that the pleasure center of the brain that produces the chemical dopamine, and the brain’s separate biological clock that regulates daily physiological rhythms, are linked, and that high-calorie foods — which bring pleasure — disrupt normal feeding schedules, resulting in overconsumption. Using mice as study models, the researchers mimicked the 24/7 availability of a high-fat diet, and showed that anytime snacking eventually results in obesity and related health problems.

Read full article at Science Daily

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

Traumatic brain injury patient lives to tell the tale

John Kaczmarczyk’s wife, Noelle, and their son, Dylan, were at home when they heard a thud. They went to investigate the sound and found the alarming cause. John, 58, was unconscious on the floor at the bottom of a flight of stairs with shattered glass around him.

Rapid response

Noelle and Dylan quickly assessed the situation. They suspected John fell backwards while walking up the stairs to take out the recycling. He was breathing and they didn’t see blood at first. Noelle stayed with John and Dylan went to call 911.

Everything that happened next felt like rapid fire to Noelle. Emergency medical services quickly arrived at their home and transported John to the Norwalk Hospital Bauer Emergency Care Center, where the trauma team examined him immediately.

Full story at News-Medical.net

APTA: New SNF Payment System Should Drive Quality Patient Care, Not Staff Layoffs

Fewer than 48 hours after the launch of a new Medicare payment system for skilled nursing facilities (SNFs), APTA began receiving word from physical therapists (PTs) and physical therapist assistants (PTAs) that a number of providers were announcing layoffs or shifts to PRN roles with reduced hours and fewer or no benefits. Many were told by their employers that the new system, known as the Patient-Driven Payment Model, or PDPM, was the reason for reduced staffing levels and less therapy.

There’s one problem with that explanation: it isn’t true.

That’s the message APTA is delivering to SNFs, association members, and the media as it works to debunk myths surrounding a system that was designed to support clinician decision-making and push SNFs toward a more patient-focused payment model.

Full story at APTA

Interprofessional education aims to foster learning, collaboration among healthcare students

A virtual world may be a feasible learning platform for bringing together students from different healthcare professions and enhancing their understanding of collaborative patient care and knowledge of other health professions, according to a pilot study led by researchers from Tufts University School of Medicine and published online in the Journal of Interprofessional Care.

Interprofessional education (IPE) aims to foster learning and collaboration among healthcare students from different professions, with a goal of enhancing patient care. Scheduling face-to-face learning between students in different programs, however, is one of the largest barriers to implementing this type of learning. The study evaluated a virtual educational environment for its ability to provide IPE in palliative care, which is interdisciplinary by nature.

Full story at News Medical

6 ways to safely exercise in extremely hot weather

When temperatures spike in the summer, it’s important to make sure you temper your workouts to stay safe, says Sandeep Mannava, a sports medicine specialist at University of Rochester Medicine.

Here, Mannava offers tips to avoid overexertion on exceptionally hot days, which can lead to illness or potentially life-threatening issues.

1. Know your limits

Be aware of your fitness limitations and respect them. If you’re not in good physical condition and not conditioned for activity in hot weather, you’re more vulnerable than a well-conditioned athlete who regularly trains in the heat. Keep your activity low-key and brief, take frequent breaks, and drink plenty of water.

Full story at futurity.org

Is Physical Therapy a Realistic Alternative to Opioids for Treating Chronic Pain?

Taking a pill to ease chronic pain is easy, at least at first. But it comes with side effects – the most well-known of which is probably addiction. One alternative to opioids for chronic pain is physical therapy.

“Side effects of physical therapy are less pain, improved movement, improved function,” said Carrie Abraham, president of the West Virginia Physical Therapy Association. “So they’re all positive side effects versus with the opioids we have those negative side effects of dependency and addiction.” Abraham is one of almost 1,500 active physical therapists in West Virginia. She said although there isn’t exactly a lack of physical therapists in West Virginia, transportation can still be an issue. West Virginia is highly rural after all. But the bigger issue is insurance coverage.

“Now we have insurance companies that are limiting access to physical therapy care,” she said. “They’re limiting the number of visits directly in some cases, but then they also are limiting access by the amount of copay and coinsurance that patients are required to pay. So depending on their financial status they might not be able to afford to attend physical therapy visits multiple days a week.”

Full story of PT as an alternative to opioids at WV Public

FDA Clears First Device Specifically Designed to Assess Function After Concussion

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has given its first-ever clearance for marketing of devices designed to help clinicians assess cognitive function immediately after a suspected brain injury or concussion.

Called Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing (ImPACT) and ImPACT Pediatric, the tool was approved under a new FDA category titled “Computerized Cognitive Assessment Aid for Concussion.” The test battery is already used by more than 7,400 high schools, 1,000 colleges and universities, and 900 clinical centers as a way to test cognitive skills such as word memory, reaction time, and word recognition. ImPACT is designed for use on individuals aged 12 to 59, and operates on a desktop or laptop computer; ImPACT Pediatric is intended for children aged 5 to 11, and is run on an iPad.

Full story of ImPACT device at APTA