New York Hospital Using Sailing As Unique Therapy For Disabled And Special Needs Children

Spending a relaxing day on a sailboat can be great medicine for just about anyone.

But for a special group of kids, there’s an even greater benefit.

“I’ve never been sailing,” 10-year-old Alexandria said.

Alexandria is part of a group of patients from the Hospital for Special Surgery, where they’re being treated for conditions such as cerebral palsy, autism, and scoliosis.

HSS arranged a first of its kind sailing trip at the adaptive program at the waterfront center in Oyster Bay, after similar, successful patient outings for horseback riding, surfing, and skiing.

“I think these programs give them the opportunity to move their body in a new way and be open to new opportunities,” Sabrina Cerciello from HSS said.

Cerciello is a physical therapist in pediatric rehabilitation.

Full story at CBS News

Study: Mothers Who Exercise During Pregnancy Give Their Infants a Motor Skills Boost

The message
Infants of mothers who engaged in aerobic exercise during pregnancy tend to show better motor development at 1 month compared with infants of nonexercising mothers, according to authors of a new study. The researchers believe that aerobic exercise during pregnancy could be a hedge against childhood overweight and obesity.

The study
Researchers analyzed data from 60 healthy mothers (ages 18 to 35, with an average age of 30) and their infants. During their pregnancies, 33 women participated in 45-50 minutes of supervised aerobic exercise, 3 days a week. The remaining 27 women in the control group were asked to engage in a 50-minute supervised stretching and breathing program 3 days a week, but were otherwise advised to continue with “normal” activities. The infants of both groups were then evaluated for motor skills development at 1 month using the Peabody Developmental Motor Scales, second edition (PDMS-2), a tool that tests reflexes, locomotion, and a child’s ability to remain stationary. The measure also provides a composite score, known as the Gross Motor Quotient (GMQ).

Full study at APTA

Study eyes role of Apple smart devices to help identify early stage AD

A study conducted by Evidation Health on behalf of Eli Lilly and Apple suggests that data collected from smart devices and digital apps might help speed up the diagnosis of early stages of Alzheimer’s disease.

The study, “Developing Measures of Cognitive Impairment in the Real World from Consumer-Grade Multimodal Sensor Streams,” was performed in order to assess the feasibility of using smart devices to differentiate individuals with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and early Alzheimer’s disease (AD) dementia from healthy controls.

MCI is the clinically symptomatic, pre-dementia stage of AD; cognitive deficits do not yet impair the ability to function at work or in daily activities.

Full story at Medical Xpress

Researchers building glove to treat symptoms of stroke

Strokes often have a devastating impact on hands function. Now, Stanford researchers are collaborating on a vibrating glove that could improve hand function after a 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, researchers at Stanford 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.

Full story at Medical Xpress

Robotic Neck Brace Restores Function for ALS Patients

A novel neck brace, which supports the neck during its natural motion, was designed by Columbia engineers. This is the first device shown to dramatically assist patients suffering from Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) in holding their heads and actively supporting them during range of motion. This advance would result in improved quality of life for patients, not only in improving eye contact during conversation, but also in facilitating the use of eyes as a joystick to control movements on a computer, much as scientist Stephen Hawkins famously did.

A team of engineers and neurologists led by Sunil Agrawal, professor of mechanical engineering and of rehabilitation and regenerative medicine, designed a comfortable and wearable robotic neck brace that incorporates both sensors and actuators to adjust the head posture, restoring roughly 70% of the active range of motion of the human head. Using simultaneous measurement of the motion with sensors on the neck brace and surface electromyography (EMG) of the neck muscles, it also becomes a new diagnostic tool for impaired motion of the head-neck. Their pilot study was published August 7 in the Annals of Clinical and Translational Neurology.

Full story at Technology Networks

Military System Study: PTs in Primary Care Provide Safe Treatment and Are Less Likely to Order Ancillary Services or Make Referrals

While civilian health care policymakers and stakeholders in the US continue to debate whether physical therapists (PTs) should be included as primary care providers, the country’s military health systems have marched ahead with the concept. A new study adds to the evidence that the idea is working, both in terms of patient safety and reduced health care utilization.

Authors of the study, published in Military Medicine and first presented as a poster at the 2019 APTA Combined Sections Meeting, frame their research as an exploration of the potential for PTs to address the nationwide physician shortage by lowering costs and increasing access to care. They assert that the potential for more team-based, effective care could be at least partially realized if civilian PTs were treated like their military counterparts and included as primary care providers. It’s a position that APTA strongly supports in its strategic goals and is consistent with APTA’s own investigations into the PT’s role in primary care settings. In addition, in 2018 the association conducted a practice analysis aimed at determining the feasibility of primary care as a specialty area recognized by the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties and the American Board of Physical Therapy Residency and Fellowship Education.

Full story at APTA

Do rising obesity levels explain cardiovascular mortality trends?

For decades, deaths caused by cardiovascular events, such as stroke, had been on the decline in high income countries. Recently, however, this decline has come to a halt, and some countries are even experiencing rising rates of stroke and heart disease-related deaths. Why?

“In high income countries, the very substantial decline in [cardiovascular] mortality over the past half-century has been a major, yet often unheralded, global public health achievement.”

This is what Prof. Alan Lopez and Tim Adair, Ph.D. write in the introduction to a new study paper, published in the International Journal of Epidemiology. The journal reviews current trends in mortality associated with stroke, heart disease, and other cardiovascular diseases (CVD).

Full story at Medical News Today

BIDMC podiatrist offers advice on most common foot injuries

As the summer is in full swing, you may be spending more time outside being active. John Giurini, DPM, Chief of Podiatric Surgery at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC), encourages you to pay special attention to your feet.

“Foot health contributes to your overall health,” he says. “From beginners to advanced athletes, proper foot care is important to keep your body healthy.”

Whether you’re training for a big race or taking a short walk, here are a few common injuries that everyone should be aware of to keep your feet happy and healthy.

Full story at News Medical

Physical Therapy Gets Low (Tech)

There’s a place for virtual reality treadmills, robotic exoskeletons, and motion-capture sensors—just not in Eva Norman’s car trunk.

Evan Norman, PT, DPT, president of a mobile wellness practice in Minnesota, is one of the physical therapists (PTs) and physical therapy device industry professionals who share their thoughts on “unplugged” equipment for “In Praise of Low-Tech Tools,” an article in the August edition of PT in Motion magazine.

Norman’s business model, which brings providers including PTs to patients and clients, includes the use of what she calls a provider “toolbox,” aka a car trunk. That toolbox contains items such as ankle weights, foam pads, resistance bands, and foam rollers—the “evergreen” tools of the rehab trade, according to Norman. She emphasizes that “all of the tools we use must be practical for our purposes—portable, easy to use, durable, and low-cost for people to purchase for themselves.”

Full story at APTA

#Fail? Study Says Physical Therapy’s Reach on Social Media Comes up Short

When it comes to using social media to promote the profession, physical therapy may be missing out: that’s the conclusion of a recent study that analyzed physical therapy-related tweets and found that, for the most part, Twitter discussions about the profession are occurring in an “echo chamber”—if they even rise to the level of a discussion in the first place.

The study, published in APTA’s journal PTJ (Physical Therapy), looked at a random sample of 1,000 tweets from a collection of 30,000 tweets gathered over a 12-week period. Researchers sorted out each message according to its author, intended audience, tone, and theme, and—when it occurred—the “pattern” of the twitter conversation, which includes shares as well as actual online exchanges. The collection was based on 9 search terms: physical therapy, physiotherapy, physical therapist, physiotherapist, #physicaltherapy, #physiotherapy, #physical therapist, #physiotherapist, and #physio. Hashtags associated with “known physical therapy campaigns,” such as APTA’s #ChoosePT, were not included in the searches.

Full story at APTA