UTHealth enrolls first U.S. patient in novel stem cell trial to treat stroke disability

The first U.S. patient to participate in a global study of a stem cell therapy injected directly into the brain to treat stroke disability was enrolled in the clinical trial this week at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth).

“At McGovern Medical School at UTHealth, we have been studying cellular therapies as a novel treatment for stroke over the past 10 years. We are very excited to partner with ReNeuron and enroll the first patient into the PISCES III study,” said Sean I. Savitz, MD, the study’s global principal investigator and professor and director of the Institute for Stroke and Cerebrovascular Disease at UTHealth. “This study represents an important next step in the development of novel cellular therapies for chronic stroke and, to date, is the most advanced clinical trial to determine whether neural stem cells improve recovery in patients chronically disabled by stroke.”

Full story at news-medical.net

New recovery pathway could speed up time to next treatment for pancreatic cancer patients

Pancreaticoduodenectomy, or the Whipple operation, is one of the most complex abdominal surgeries, and is commonly prescribed as a first line of therapy for cancer located within the pancreatic head. It remains the most effective treatment method associated with prolonged survival. The surgery involves removal of parts of the pancreas, bile duct, and small intestine, requiring careful reconstruction of the organs involved. Clinicians at Jefferson have now shown that providing patients intensive care after surgery can help reduce hospital stay and reduce time to eligibility for adjuvant chemotherapy. The prospective, randomized, controlled study was published in the Journal of the American College of Surgeons.

“The trial was so successful that we were able to halt the study early and change our standard practice to providing this accelerated post-operative care to all eligible patients,” said Harish Lavu, MD, Associate Professor of Surgery at Jefferson (Philadelphia University + Thomas Jefferson University) and researcher with the NCI-Designated Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center – Jefferson Health.

Full story at news-medical.net

Activity keeps your brain sharper, even if you have dementia

People who move around more have sharper brains than couch potatoes, even well into old age and even if they already have some brain deterioration, researchers reported Wednesday.

The research helps answer a big question of whether exercise prevents dementia, or whether people with dementia-related damage to their brains move less because of that damage.

The new findings indicate that exercise and other activity helps preserve memory and brain function despite the various damage that leads to dementia, including hardened arteries and the brain-clogging plaques that are the hallmark of Alzheimer’s.

Full story at NBC News

Ultra-sturdy bones, with a surprising origin, suggest new osteoporosis approach

A handful of brain cells deep in the brain may play a surprising role in controlling women’s bone density, according to new research by UC San Francisco and UCLA scientists.

In a study published January 11, 2019 in Nature Communications, researchers showed that blocking a particular set of signals from these cells causes female (but not male) mice to build extraordinarily strong bones and maintain them into old age, raising hopes for new approaches to preventing or treating osteoporosis in older women.

“Our collaborators who study bone for a living said they’d never seen bone this strong,” said study senior author Holly Ingraham, Ph.D. “Our current understanding of how the body controls bone growth can’t explain this, which suggests we may have uncovered a completely new pathway that could be used to improve bone strength in older women and others with fragile bones.”

Full story at Medical Xpress

Prototype Rehab Device for Lower Leg Injuries in Development

A team of scientists is preparing for the final stage of development in a 4-year endeavor to create a new rehabilitation device for patients with lower leg injuries.

The scientists, from South Ural State University School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and Institute of Sport, Tourism and Service, are led by Aleksey Petrov, a professor at the SUSU Department of Electronic and Computing Machines.

“We have developed a mechatronic rehabilitation device for people with lower limbs injuries. This technology has a name of continuous passive motion,” says Petrov, according to Healio. “Our aim is to make one’s lower limb again movable.”

The device is designed for use in cases of rehabilitation following knee or hip joint injuries. The device involves motion of every joint in the lower leg, including the ankle, giving the patient the ability to imitate proper walking movement patterns. Additionally, the device has the application of teaching patients afflicted with infantile cerebral palsy to correctly walk.

Full story at Rehab Management

Exercise can help fight off Alzheimer’s, but how?

Exercise is a vital element of a healthful lifestyle; it helps maintain heart health, improve mood, and fight weight gain. New research also suggests that it can protect a person’s cognitive skills, and a new study uncovers fresh information as to how this can happen.

According to a study covered on Medical News Today last year, engaging in regular, leisurely exercise can help keep the body young and healthy.

The same appears to be true for the relationship between exercise and the mind; only 10 minutes of physical activity may boost cognitive function in the short-term.

Meanwhile, exercising regularly for 6 months could actually reverse the symptoms of mild cognitive impairment.

Full story at Medical News Today

Why it’s never too late to start lifting weights

It may not be how you intended to spend older age, but there it is; a study by researchers at the University of Dublin has shown so conclusively how much older people benefit from resistance training – working their muscles, even drinking protein shakes – that they have concluded GPs should prescribe it.

Twenty to 25 minutes of activity, four days a week at home, with an emphasis on a high-protein diet, is ideal.

Dorian Jones, who runs the London-based Marigold Fitness classes, may be the country’s foremost senior-trainer. The 42-year-old is a certified boxing coach, a level three personal trainer and used to be on the basketball team for the police force, but he developed a passion for working with older people. Most of his clients are in their 70s or 80s. A handful are in their 90s. “I had a woman who was 102, and she unfortunately passed. But she looked amazing!”

Full story at The Guardian

New CPT Codes Allow PTs to Conduct, Bill for Remote Monitoring

Sure, the biggest news from the 2019 Medicare physician fee schedule is the new reporting and payment system for many physical therapists (PTs), but that’s not the whole story: the 2019 rule also includes new current procedural terminology (CPT) codes that allow PTs to conduct and bill Medicare for remote monitoring of patient factors such as weight, blood pressure, and pulse oximetry.

Many questions remain as to how the US Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) will implement the new codes, and APTA is developing online resources that will supply further details as they become available.

Here’s what APTA knows so far: the new CPT codes apply to chronic care, and they allow physicians, clinical staff, or “other qualified healthcare professionals” to conduct remote monitoring in certain circumstances. Because PTs are included in the American Medical Association’s definition of  “qualified healthcare professionals” they are able to participate in the remote monitoring to the extent allowed by state and scope-of-practice laws.

Full story at APTA

Can exercise lower blood pressure as effectively as drugs?

Millions of people live with high blood pressure, which can place them at risk of developing cardiovascular diseases. For this condition, doctors typically prescribe blood-lowering drugs, but could exercise help just as well?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 75 millionadults in the United States have to manage high blood pressure, where it exceeds the threshold of 140 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg).

The condition can increase their risk of developing heart disease or experiencing a stroke, both of which are leading causes of death in the U.S.

Full story at Medical News Today

Increased motor activity linked to improved mood

Increasing one’s level of physical activity may be an effective way to boost one’s mood, according to a new study from a team including scientists at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in collaboration with the National Institute of Mental Health Intramural Research Program.

The findings were published online December 12 in JAMA Psychiatry.

The researchers found that increases in physical activity tended to be followed by increases in mood and perceived energy level. This beneficial effect was even more pronounced for a subset of the study subjects who had bipolar disorder. For the study, activity trackers and electronic diaries were used for two weeks in a community sample of 242 (150 women and 92 men) adults, ages 15 to 84, with an average age of 48 years. The sample included 54 people with bipolar disorder.

Mobile assessments in the study included wrist-worn devices that automatically recorded levels of physical movement in real time and electronic diaries that assessed mood and perceived energy levels four times per day for two weeks. These real-time mood and energy levels were rated by study participants on a seven-point analogue scale from “very happy” to “very sad” for mood and from “very tired” to “very energetic” for energy.

Full story at Medical Xpress