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

Clinical Trial Shows Promise of Stem Cells in Offering Safe, Effective Relief from Arthritic Knees

Stem cells collected from the patient’s own bone marrow holds great interest as a potential therapy for osteoarthritis of the knee (KOA) because of their ability to regenerate the damaged cartilage. The results were released today in STEM CELLS Translational Medicine (SCTM).

KOA is a common, debilitating disease of the aging population in which the cartilage wears away, resulting in bone wearing upon bone and subsequently causing great pain. In its end stages, joint replacement is currently the recommended treatment. In the first clinical trial of its kind to take place in Canada, researchers used mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs), collected from the patient’s own bone marrow under local anesthesia, to treat KOA.

The study was conducted by a research team from the Arthritis Program at the Krembil Research Institute, University Health Network, Toronto, led by Sowmya Viswanathan, Ph.D., and Jaskarndip Chahal, M.D. “Our goal was to test for safety as well as to gain a better understanding of MSC dosing, mechanisms of action and donor selection,” Dr. Viswanathan said.

Full story at Business Insider

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

Torn rotator cuff: Everything you need to know

A torn rotator cuff is a common injury that affects a person’s ability to lift and rotate their arm.

According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, an estimated 2 million people in the United States will visit a doctor for a rotator cuff problem each year.

The rotator cuff is four muscles connected by tendons to the humerus, or upper portion of the shoulder.

When a rotator cuff tear occurs, one or more of the tendons detaches from the humerus. The tear may be complete or partial and can cause significant pain and restrict movement.

Full story at Medical News Today

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

New Pilot Study Opportunities Available From CoHSTAR

The Center on Health Services Training and Research (CoHSTAR) has opened a call for the development of multiple pilot studies that would help set the stage for larger efforts to advance a wide range of health services research. APTA was a major financial contributor to the development of CoHSTAR, having donated $1 million toward the center’s startup in 2015.

The selected pilot studies would address research questions in CoHSTAR’s 4 areas of specialization—analysis of large data sets, rehabilitation outcome measurement, cost-effectiveness, and implementation of science and quality improvement research—and the CoHSTAR Pilot Study Program webpage lists examples of specific types of studies that would qualify for funding. Each pilot study will receive $25,000 in funding for direct costs.

Priorities for funding will be given to applications that align with 1 of the 4 areas of CoHSTAR specialization, have a strong likelihood of leading to broader research with major external funding, and have good potential to result in future research with high societal or policy impact for physical therapy. Principal investigators must include at least 1 physical therapist (PT) who is a US citizen or a certified permanent resident of the United States.

Full story at APTA