Don’t Forget World Physical Therapy Day September 8

There’s still time to gear up for World Physical Therapy Day on Monday, September 8—don’t miss out!

This year the theme is “Fit to Take Part,” emphasizing the physical therapy’s role in helping people with long-term illnesses or disabilities fulfill their potential by maximizing movement and functional ability.

For more information on the World Physical Therapy Day, visit APTA

PTs’ Role in Joint Pain Management Highlighted in Letter to Editor

A recent Harvard Medical School newsletter article on nonsurgical approaches to joint pain came up short on information about the physical therapist’s (PT) role, and APTA weighed in to provide a more complete picture.

The association released a letter to the editor responding to a May 29 healthbeat newsletter article titled “4 ways to put off joint replacement.” The article listed weight loss, proper joint use, injections of steroids or other compounds, and pain reduction through NSAIDS, but made no mention of the ways in which a PT can help.

Full story of PT and joint replacement management at APTA

NIH Backs $4.5 Billion Brain Research Project

A “moon shot initiative” to uncover the mysteries of brain function received significant support from the US National Institutes of Health (NIH), which is recommending that the project be funded to the tune of $4.5 billion over the next 12 years.

A federal report recently released by NIH states that the money will be necessary to fully implement the Brain Research Through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative. The new federal funding would be released over 10 years beginning in fiscal year 2016. NIH already announced an investment of $40 million in fiscal year 2014, and President Obama has made a request for $100 million for NIH’s component of the initiative in his fiscal year 2015 budget.

Full story of NIH and brain research project at APTA

Health Professions Regulation Conference Will Look at High-Risk Industry Examples

What do pilots, deep sea oil rig workers, and physical therapists have in common? More than you might think, particularly when it comes to regulation.

The World Health Professions Regulation Conference in May will include a keynote address by Professor Rhona Flin, a director of a UK-based industrial psychology research center, who will explore the connection between health care and high-risk industries by showing how failures in communication and decision-making can trigger adverse results. The address is part of the conference, titled “Health Professional Regulation—Facing Challenges to Act in the Public Interest” and set for May 17-18 in Geneva, Switzerland.

Full story of high risk health profession at APTA

New Wound Treatment Code Available to PTs

A new code for the use of a modality to heal wounds using sound energy has been made available to physical therapists (PTs) in the 2014 version of the Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) document maintained by the American Medical Association (AMA).

The new active wound care management code—97610—replaces Category III code 0183T. The modality uses acoustic energy to atomize saline and deliver ultrasound energy by way of a continuous mist to the wound bed and surrounding tissue, and is identified as “low frequency, non-contact, non-thermal ultrasound, including topical application(s), when performed, wound assessment, and instruction(s) for ongoing care, per day.”

For more information on the new treatment code, visit APTA

Technology, prevention will move health care costs down

In 2014, expect a flurry of changes to continue to bend the health cost curve down, accelerated by the Affordable Care Act, experts say.

Even die-hard believers in the connection between the economy and how people spend on medical expenses are saying this may be the year that proves them wrong, as providers and insurers rush to make changes to keep profit margins high in light of changes in how they’re billed. They’ll be led by improved technology that helps them see how to improve quality; preventive programs that have proven they can save millions in long-term costs; and an acknowledgement that consumers hold the purse strings.

“There is a considerable level of consensus based on several recent studies about how to keep costs down,” said David Blumenthal, president of The Commonwealth Fund, whose report looking at recent research was released Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine. “I think there’s a lot of work to be done.”

His research highlighted several areas that have seen progress — both before the health law was enacted and because of the law — but that still have further to go:

Full story of technology and health care costs at the Montgomery Advertiser

Diabetes drug won’t help obese kids keep off weight

Few children who become obese are able to lose and keep off weight with diet and exercise alone, leading some doctors to prescribe drugs, such as the diabetes drug metformin, to treat childhood obesity. However, a new study suggests that metformin may not help kids and teens without diabetes lose weight over the long term.

The study, which reviewed information from previous research, found no evidence that children and teens who took the drug lost more weight after one year than those who did not take the drug.

While some adolescents who took the drug did experience short-term weight loss (six months or less), the effect was modest, and it’s not clear whether such limited weight loss would actually improve their health, the researchers said.

Given the current evidence, metformin has not been shown to be superior to other weight-loss treatments for kids, such as diet and exercise, the researchers said.

“Unfortunately, this drug is not going to be the answer,” said study researcher Marian McDonagh, of Oregon Health & Science University. Overall, the drug does not appear to provide enough weight reduction for children to experience meaningful health benefits in the long term, McDonagh said.

Full story of diabetes drugs and obese children at Fox News

Further success in the treatment of neuromuscular diseases

Neuromuscular disorders such as BVVL cause the breakdown of muscle and nerve tissue. They can occur from birth or develop later in life, and can be either stable or degenerative. Symptoms range from almost undetectable, to the progressive loss of muscle function, sensory impairment, paralysis and death.

Patients with BVVL are deficient in riboflavin or vitamin B2, an essential vitamin necessary for normal metabolic function. Patients taking part in the study were given a daily high dose of oral riboflavin in an effort to help some of their symptoms.

Findings from the study, which included 18 children internationally, conclude that high-dose oral riboflavin can be effective in treating this condition and is most beneficial when introduced soon after the onset of symptoms, which include vision and hearing loss, upper limb weakness and respiratory insufficiency.

BVVL, which is an autosomal recessive genetic condition, can be caused by mutations in the SLC52A2 gene, which is responsible for the expression of a riboflavin transporter. In 14 of the 16 patients who were given high-dose riboflavin, some improvement or stabilising effect was observed.

Full story of treatment success for neuromuscular disorders at Zawya.com

New Test Aims to Make AIDS Diagnosis Easier

A new device intends to make diagnosing AIDS easier and more accessible for people in developing countries.

The instrument would eliminate the need for expensive equipment and highly trained staff, resources that are not available in many areas where the HIV epidemic is most severe.

HIV kills by destroying a particular type of disease-fighting white blood cells called CD4+ T lymphocytes. Full-blown AIDS sets in when patients’ CD4 counts fall below a critical level and they are unable to fight off infections. That’s when antiretroviral drugs are critical.

But counting CD4 cells requires a blood sample and a lab equipped to analyze it. In many areas hardest hit by the AIDS epidemic – much of sub-Saharan Africa, for example, “there is just no way to get the patient or the blood very easily to the lab,” said Rashid Bashir, head of the bioengineering department at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Lab on a chip

So, Bashir and colleagues have developed a prototype “lab on a chip” with all the equipment and chemicals to do the job in a 3-centimeter-by-4-centimeter cartridge.

Full story of new AIDS testing at Voice of America

This Mom Lost 3 Children To HIV. She’s Making Sure No Other Mother Suffers Such A Devastating Loss

One by one, each of Connie’s three children died before her eyes in the 1980s from a relentless disease she had suspected was HIV, but didn’t have the “courage” at the time to find out.

Today, the grieving mother is working to make sure that no parent makes the same tragic decision.

In Zambia, where Connie lives, and other parts of the sub-Saharan Africa — HIV and AIDS still carry a pervasive stigma, a stigma so strong that it keeps people from even getting tested.

Once Connie’s husband fell ill, the two felt that they had no choice but to find out if they were infected. They both tested positive.

The pair enrolled in the Kanyama Health Center, a clinic that offers free life-saving drugs –- a decision that has kept Connie alive and has also helped her find a new purpose.

Connie now serves as an AIDS ambassador and peer counselor. She tests people in the comforts of their own homes and helps them navigate their treatment options.

Full story of HIV and loss at Huffington Post