Active lifestyles may help nerves to heal after spinal injuries

Leading an active lifestyle may increase the likelihood of damaged nerves regenerating after a spinal cord injury.

The early-stage findings, published in the journal Science Translational Medicine, come from studies in mice and rats with spinal cord injuries, in which scientists uncovered a mechanism for nerve fibres repairing after they had been damaged.

An international team, led by researchers from Imperial College London, found that providing rodents with more space, an exercise wheel, toys and company before an injury helped to ‘prime’ their cells, making it more likely their damaged nerves would regenerate following spinal injury.

Full story at Medical Xpress

Maximal running shoes may raise injury risk even after transition period

A six-week transition period did not help wearers adjust to “maximal” running shoes, indicating that increased impact forces and loading rates caused by the shoe design do not change over time, a new study from Oregon State University – Cascades has found.

The shoes, which feature increased cushioning, particularly in the forefoot region of the midsole, affect runners’ biomechanics, leaving them at increased risk of injury, said Christine Pollard, director of the Bend campus’s Functional Orthopedic Research Center of Excellence (FORCE) Lab and a co-author of the study.

“These shoes may work for certain people, but right now we just don’t know who they are good for,” said Pollard, an associate professor of kinesiology at OSU-Cascades. “The findings suggest that people aren’t really changing the way they run in the shoes, even after a six-week transition, potentially leaving them at increased risk of injury.”

Full story at news-medical.net

High-Intensity Interval Training Increases Injuries, Rutgers Study Finds

People who engage in high-intensity interval training are at greater risk for injury, especially in the knees and shoulders, a Rutgers study found.

These workouts, which combine aerobic exercising, weight lifting and calisthenics at maximum capacity, followed by periods of recovery, have been growing in popularity over the past decade, driven by the efficiency of the exercise to deliver fitness goals in less time.

The study, which appears in the Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness, acknowledged that while this type of training is effective in improving cardio respiratory fitness, boosting energy and promoting lean muscle mass and fat loss, it also increases injury risk.

“These workouts are marketed as ‘one size fits all.’ However, many athletes, especially amateurs, do not have the flexibility, mobility, core strength and muscles to perform these exercises,” said Joseph Ippolito, a physician in the Department of Orthopaedics at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School.

Full story at rutgers.edu

New Phys Ed Studies Say There’s More Work to Do

Despite concerns that US education policy over the past 2 decades may be squeezing out opportunities for physical activity in school, it turns out that average student attendance in physical education (PE) classes hasn’t dropped since the mid-1990s—but then again, it hasn’t increased either and remains below recommended levels. Those were among the conclusions in a pair of recently completed studies that also found public schools not fully embracing policies that could improve their PE programs.

The 2 studies were conducted by the National Physical Activity Plan Alliance (NPAPA) at the request of the President’s Council on Fitness, Sport, and Nutrition. APTA is an organizational partner of the NPAPA. [Editor’s note: Want to learn more about the National Physical Activity Plan and the work of the NPAPA?

To reach their conclusions, researchers looked at nationally representative survey responses. The attendance study focused on self-reported data from students, while the research on policy implementation was based on information primarily gathered from PE instructors. The study on PE attendance is an update on previous NPAPA research, while the policy study is a first-ever investigation into the degree to which schools have adopted best-practice recommendations from SHAPE America’s Essential Components of Physical Education. The attendance study was published in Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport; the PE policy study was published in the Journal of School Health.

Full story at APTA

Maximal running shoes may raise injury risk even after transition period

A six-week transition period did not help wearers adjust to “maximal” running shoes, indicating that increased impact forces and loading rates caused by the shoe design do not change over time, a new study from Oregon State University – Cascades has found.

The shoes, which feature increased cushioning, particularly in the forefoot region of the midsole, affect runners’ biomechanics, leaving them at increased risk of injury, said Christine Pollard, director of the Bend campus’s Functional Orthopedic Research Center of Excellence (FORCE) Lab and a co-author of the study.

“These shoes may work for certain people, but right now we just don’t know who they are good for,” said Pollard, an associate professor of kinesiology at OSU-Cascades. “The findings suggest that people aren’t really changing the way they run in the shoes, even after a six-week transition, potentially leaving them at increased risk of injury.”

Full story at news-medical.net

PTJ: Falls Are ‘Critical Health Hazard’ for Individuals With Upper Limb Loss

Arm motion is critical to helping compensate for losing one’s balance and avoiding a fall. For individuals with upper limb loss (ULL), the lower extremities take on the burden of reacting to avoid a fall, and the lack of upper arm movement may put them at greater risk for falls than older individuals, say authors of a new study in PTJ (Physical Therapy). This “critical health hazard,” they write, requires falls screening and “targeted physical therapy to enhance postural control and minimize fall risk.”

Via an anonymous online survey, researchers asked 109 individuals with an average age of 43 with ULL about their body and health characteristics, upper and lower limb loss characteristics, physical activity level, fall history in the previous year and circumstances, and upper limb prosthesis use. Participants also completed the the Activities-specific Balance Confidence (ABC) Scale.

Full story at APTA

Researchers create smart fabric that aids in athletic coaching and physical therapy

A computer science research team at Dartmouth College has produced a smart fabric that can help athletes and physical therapy patients correct arm angles to optimize performance, reduce injury and accelerate recovery.

The proposed fabric-sensing system is a flexible, motion-capture textile that monitors joint rotation. The wearable is lightweight, low-cost, washable and comfortable, making it ideal for participants of all levels of sport or patients recuperating from injuries.

The study, published in Proceedings of the ACM on Interactive, Mobile, Wearable and Ubiquitous Technologies, will be presented later this year at the UbiComp 2019 conference in London in September.

Full story at news-medical.net

What to know about hamstring tendonitis

Tendonitis, or tendinitis, happens when a tendon either swells or sustains tiny tears. Tendonitis usually develops over time. For some people, however, it is a sudden injury. It is possible for tendonitis to get better with home treatment and gentle exercise, especially when people begin treatment early.

Hamstring tendonitis is an injury to one or both of the hamstring tendons, which are part of the thick band of muscles and tendons called the hamstrings. The hamstring tendons connect the hamstring muscles to the pelvis, knee, and shinbones.

As the hamstrings help the knee bend, an injury to either the tendons or the muscles can cause knee pain and difficulty walking or bending the knee. People often develop tendonitis because of overuse.

Full story at Medical News Today

JAMA Oncology: Telerehab Makes a Difference in Patients With Advanced-Stage Cancer

“Collaborative telerehabilitation” isn’t a regular part of care for patients with advanced-stage cancer, but maybe it should be, say authors of a study recently published in JAMA Oncology.They found that the approach, which combines remotely delivered rehabilitation instruction with outpatient physical therapy and regular communication, can reduce pain, improve function, shorten hospital says, and decrease the use of postacute care facilities.

The findings are based on results from the Collaborative Care to Preserve Performance in Cancer (COPE) program, a randomized clinical trial designed to address what the JAMA authors describe as a “knowledge gap” in the application of collaborative care models (CCMs) focused on patient function. The COPE trial includes patients with stage III or IV solid or hematologic cancer with a life expectancy of more than 6 months, and who reported moderate functional impairment (a score of 53-60 on the Activity Measure for Postacute Care assessment, or AM-PAC).

Full story at APTA

A glove to treat symptoms of stroke

The most obvious sign someone has survived a stroke is usually some trouble speaking or walking. But another challenge may have an even greater impact on someone’s daily life: Often, stroke survivors lose sensation and muscle control in one arm and hand, making it difficult to dress and feed themselves or handle everyday objects such as a toothbrush or door handle.

Now, doctors and engineers at Stanford and Georgia Tech are working on a novel therapy that could help more stroke survivors regain the ability to control their arms and hands – a vibrating glove that gently stimulates the wearer’s hand for several hours a day.

Caitlyn Seim, a graduate student at Georgia Tech, started the project in the hope that the glove’s stimulation could have some of the same impact as more traditional exercise programs. After developing a prototype, she approached Stanford colleagues Maarten Lansberg, an associate professor of neurology, and Allison Okamura, a professor of mechanical engineering, in order to expand her efforts. With help from a Wu Tsai Neurosciences Institute Neuroscience seed grant, the trio are working to improve on their prototype glove and bring the device closer to clinical testing.

Full story at Medical Xpress