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Recent Health Articles: APTA, AOTA & ASHA on Addressing the Therapy Cap, 49er Retirement Spurs Congressional Briefings, & More

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#1APTA, AOTA and ASHA: New Medicare Legislation Should Address Therapy Cap

Together, the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, the American Physical Therapy Association and the American Occupational Therapy Association are asking Congress to include a permanent repeal of the therapy cap in legislation introduced last week to fix the flawed sustainable growth rate.

If the legislation advances as is, more than 1 million Medicare beneficiaries are at risk for being denied necessary outpatient therapy services, according to the March 24, 2015 news release. Read More

#2Concussion, Brain Injuries Continue to Grab Attention After 49er Retires

In a widely covered announcement, 24-year-old Chris Borland, a successful rookie linebacker for the San Francisco 49ers professional football team, announced that he is retiring from the sport after one season because of concerns about potential health risks associated with head trauma. “From what I’ve researched and what I experienced, I don’t think it’s worth the risk,” Borland said in an interview for ESPN’s “Outside the Lines.” In response, the APTA advocate and staff were sent to Washington, DC to participate in congressional briefings. Read More

#3Speech Therapy “Out of the Box”

Speech therapy at school needs updating based on the latest evidence based guidelines. Young children need to be taught language and social skills “outside the box”. What does this mean?

#4Dry Needling, Ischemic Compression for Neck Pain Supported by Moderate-to-Strong Evidence

Authors of a new systematic review of neck pain interventions say that while it’s clear more research is needed, there is already moderate-to-strong evidence that both dry needling (DN) and ischemic compression (IC) can lessen pain intensity and increase range of motion.

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Therapeutic Massage Takes on Cancer Fatigue

In a continuation of clinical trials related to the biological benefits of massage therapy, Emory researchers are currently studying how massage may help reduce fatigue in breast cancer patients. Read More

Draft Criteria for Community Behavioral Health Clinics Includes OTs

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration released early 2015 the draft criteria for a demonstration program to expand access to mental and behavioral health services by establishing new Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics, according to a news release. Licensed OTs are listed by SAMHSA as one of the disciplines that could be used to meet the staffing criteria for the CCBHCs.

Interventional Radiology Offers New Treatment for Plantar Fasciitis

Chronic plantar fasciitis affects approximately 10% of the population and accounts for more than 1 million office visits annually.  It is a difficult condition to live with, and yet patients have been limited in their treatment options… until now. Rahul Razdan, MD, of Advanced Medical Imaging in Lincoln, Nebraska, presented results of a new study interventional radiology treatment. Two weeks after treatment, 90% of patients showed an improvement in symptoms, and these improvements were maintained at six months.

NFL Rule Change Momentous for Athletic Trainers

On March 24, 2015, during the NFL’s annual owners meetings several rules changes were announced by the Competition Committee. One of these was especially significant because it will affect the athletic trainers who act as independent injury spotters during games. The new rule gives them the ability to stop a game if a player appears disoriented. Read More

Can iPad Therapy Mend Speech After Stroke?

New research from Boston University suggests that personalized therapy via an iPad app can benefit people with aphasia.

Study: Costs Reduced When Low Back Pain Treatment Begins with Physical Therapy

A new study shows that initial referrals for physical therapy for patients with new episodes of low back pain (LBP) resulted in less than half the cost of imaging and generated lower costs associated with use of health care resources over time.

Give Us Your Input!

What do you think about the latest health news? Are there any recent discoveries that surprise you? Pique your interest? Are a cause for concern? Share your comments below.


Recent Health Articles: Why Balancing on One Leg for 20 Seconds is a Good Sign, Sharp Rise in OT Cases in U.S. Schools, & More

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#1Sharp Rise in Occupational Therapy Cases in New York, Chicago and L.A. Schools

Over the last four years, New York City public schools have seen a 30 percent increase in the number of students referred to occupational therapy, to nearly 42,000 students. The city covers the cost, which at $58 million a year is up from $38 million just five years ago. (That dollar figure does not include therapists in schools fully devoted to special-education students.)

In Chicago, 6,600 students now receive the therapy, up 20 percent in three years; in Los Angeles, the number has jumped 30 percent in five years, to 9,000. But, why?

#2Ability to Balance on One Leg May Reflect Brain Health, Stroke Risk

Struggling to balance on one leg for 20 seconds or longer was linked to an increased risk for small blood vessel damage in the brain and reduced cognitive function in otherwise healthy people with no clinical symptoms, according to new research.

#3Antibiotics Give Rise to New Communities of Harmful Bacteria

Most people have taken an antibiotic to treat a bacterial infection. Now researchers reveal that the way we often think about antibiotics — as straightforward killing machines — needs to be revised. Read More

#4More Evidence that Musical Training Protects the Brain

Scientists have found some of the strongest evidence yet that musical training in younger years can prevent the decay in speech listening skills in later life. “Musical activities are an engaging form of cognitive brain training and we are now seeing robust evidence of brain plasticity from musical training not just in younger brains, but in older brains too.” Read More

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Video Game Technology Helps Measure Upper Extremity Movement

Researchers at Nationwide Children’s Hospital have developed a way to measure upper extremity movement in patients with muscular dystrophy using interactive video game technology. Their hope is to expand inclusion criteria for clinical trials to incorporate patients using wheelchairs.

Motorized Cycling May Prime Brain for Relearning after Stroke

Exercise on a motorized stationary bike appeared to give stroke patients an advantage in relearning everyday tasks and improved motor function of their arms, according to research presented at the American Stroke Association’s International Stroke Conference 2015. Read More

IOM Committee Calls for New Criteria, Name for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Chronic fatigue syndrome is a serious, real disease, one that deserves a more accurate name — systemic exertion intolerance disease — and a new code in the International Classification of Diseases, 10th Edition, according to the Institute of Medicine. In a new report, an IOM committee describes new diagnostic criteria, which members developed after reviewing the evidence base. The experts also recommend the new name, SEID, because it better describes its symptoms and characteristics than myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome.

Osteoarthritis Patients Benefit from Jumping Exercise

According to the results of a new study, progressive high-impact training improved the patellar cartilage quality of the postmenopausal women who may be at risk of osteoporosis (bone loss) as well as at risk of osteoarthritis. The most efficient exercise modality to improve bone strength is shown to be high-impact loading (jumping type of exercise), as well as rapid change of movement directions.

Autism Speaks Grant to Fund Study on Gut, Autism Connection

The connection between gastrointestinal problems and autism will be the focus of a new patient study led by Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children’s Hospital. “Previous research has shown that gastrointestinal problems are more common among individuals with autism, and may worsen behavioral symptoms,” said Dr. James Versalovic, the Milton J. Finegold Professor of Pathology at Baylor and pathologist-in-chief at Texas Children’s Hospital, and director of the Texas Children’s Microbiome Center. Versalovic and his team at Baylor and Texas Children’s Hospital received a $1.4 million, three-year grant from Autism Speaks to initiate the study.

Daily Cola ‘Raises Cancer Risk’ Due to Caramel Coloring

The chemical process during the manufacture of the caramel coloring used in soft drinks such as cola produces a carcinogen that could be raising the risk of cancer to above the accepted threshold of one extra case in every 100,000 people consuming the drinks, suggests a new report.

Give Us Your Input!

What do you think about the latest health news? Are there any recent discoveries that surprise you? Pique your interest? Are a cause for concern? Share your comments below.


Recent Health Articles: New Ebola Information on PPE and Vaccines, Top 15 Physical Therapy Trials, New ALS Treatment & More!

Latest Health News Updates

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#1New Ebola Information: CDC Updates PPE Guidelines for Managing Ebola Patients

On October 20, 2014, the CDC updated their PPE guidelines for managing patients with Ebola virus. The guidance contains the following key principles:

  1. Prior to working with Ebola patients, all healthcare workers involved in the care of Ebola patients must have received repeated training and have demonstrated competency in performing all Ebola-related infection control practices and procedures, and specifically in donning/doffing proper PPE.
  2. While working in PPE, healthcare workers caring for Ebola patients should have no skin exposed.
  3. The overall safe care of Ebola patients in a facility must be overseen by an onsite manager at all times, and each step of every PPE donning/doffing procedure must be supervised by a trained observer to ensure proper completion of established PPE protocols.

Read more about the new guidelines here.

#2Millions of Doses of Ebola Vaccines Planned by 2015

As the world reels from its deadliest Ebola outbreak, health experts are fast-tracking tests for various vaccines, and hope to have millions of experimental doses by next year according to the World Health Organization. Read More

#3Top 15 Physical Therapy Clinical Trials

To celebrate its 15th anniversary, the Physiotherapy Evidence Database (PEDro), one of PTNow’s collaborative partners, asked PTs worldwide to nominate clinical trials that have had the most impact on the field of physical therapy. From those nominations, an expert panel selected the “Top 15” listed here.

#4Is the Affordable Care Act Working?

Since the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, has the percentage of uninsured people been reduced? Have health outcomes been improved? Has the health care industry been helped or hurt by the law? The New York Times gives a synopsis on the successes and failures of the Affordable Care Act here.

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7 Myths About Physical Therapy

Discover how to debunk the 7 common misconceptions that often discourage people from visiting a physical therapist.

Potential to Treat ALS with Heart Failure Drug

New research from the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, MO, suggests a medication used to treat heart failure could be adapted to treat amyotrophic lateral sclerosis – also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease.

Prosthetic Arm Controlled by Brain Successfully Developed

A prosthetic arm connected directly to the bone, nerves and muscles has been found to be a success. This is the first time that a robotic prosthesis has been connected in such a manner, and this discovery will open up exciting opportunities for patients in the future.

University of Toronto Study Finds that Action Video Games Bolster Sensorimotor Skills

A study led by University of Toronto psychology researchers has found that people who play action video games such as Call of Duty or Assassin’s Creed seem to learn a new sensorimotor skill more quickly than non-gamers do.

First Autism-Friendly Pediatric Emergency Department

A trip to the emergency room can be unpleasant for anyone in pain or discomfort. But for children and adolescents with autism, the fast-paced environment and bright lights only adds to the trauma. To help make the atmosphere more inviting for such patients, a new “autism-friendly” pediatric emergency department is launching in New Jersey. Read More

The Back Pain Pills Many Doctors Won’t Recommend Anymore

More than 100,000 people have died in the last 15 years from taking these common prescription painkillers. Thus, the American Academy of Neurology recently announced taking these medications for headaches or back pain is simply not worth the risk.

Give Us Your Input!

What do you think about the latest health news? Are there any recent discoveries that surprise you? Pique your interest? Are a cause for concern? Share your comments below.


Recent Health Articles: Say Good-Bye to Passive Modalities & More!

Latest Health News Updates

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#1Farewell Heating Pad & Ultrasound: They Don’t Help Says APTA

You may have read in recent health articles about the growing debate over passive modalities. What’s the fuss all about? The American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) Foundation’s Choosing Wisely® organization works to spark conversations between providers and patients to ensure the right care is delivered at the right time. Participating organizations have created lists of “Things Providers and Patients Should Question” which include evidence-based recommendations to guide decisions about the most appropriate care based on a patient’s individual situation.

The APTA has just released the “5 Things Physical Therapists and Patients Should Question”, and some of the recommendations may surprise you:

#1. Say good-bye to heating pads, ultrasound and other passive modalities. The number one recommendation by the APTA: Don’t employ passive physical agents except when necessary to facilitate participation in an active treatment program.

Read the remaining 4 recommendations here.

#2Shortage of Occupational Therapists and PTAs in the Workforce

Nearly 10 million Americans are unemployed so it may seem premature to worry about labor shortages. But the retirements of baby boomers and low replacement rates suggest that employers will have difficulty filling many openings in the near future. And, among the top of the list are OTs and physical therapy assistants.

#3Advanced Dementia Patients Often Given Unhelpful Meds

A new national analysis of U.S. nursing home prescription patterns says that more than half of people with advanced dementia are prescribed medications that are of questionable benefit.

#4Speech Therapy, Developmental Support for Premature Babies

They may not be able to talk yet, but the premature babies at Royal Women’s Hospital are seen by speech therapists who help parents understand their children’s early forms of communication and establish healthy feeding patterns. Read More

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Adults Over 45 Not Meeting U.S. Muscle Strengthening Guidelines

Although there is mounting evidence that muscle-strength training provides key health benefits, most middle-aged and older adults in the United States don’t engage in this type of exercise, according to new research. In fact, less than one-quarter of adults over 45 meet the muscle-strengthening recommendations set by the Department of Health and Human Services.

U.S. Waistlines Keep Growing, With Women Leading the Way

Americans’ belt size continues to inch up, and women’s waistlines are widening faster than men’s, according to new government research.

Heart Docs Don’t Recommend Routine ECGs for Young Athletes

According to an American Heart Association news release, U.S. cardiology experts recommend doctors use a 14-point checklist rather than an electrocardiogram (ECG) when evaluating young people for underlying heart disease that could result in sudden cardiac arrest.

New Therapies for Parkinson’s Patients

A week before, Mary Jane Lutton couldn’t walk and bend to pick up something without falling over. But on this day at St. Luke’s Physical Therapy office in Bethlehem, the 63-year-old walked confidently, bent, picked up a ball and kept moving forward. How? Lutton, who has Parkinson’s disease, has started to regain some mobility and speech clarity thanks to two new intensive therapy programs.

Backpacks are Back-Healthy if Used Right

Here’s some good news for back-to-school: Backpacks are good for your kids’ backs. With so much focus on the damage that backpacks can cause, it’s easy to forget that they were meant to lighten a load by distributing weight among some of the body’s strongest muscles. When sensibly packed and worn with two straps over both shoulders, they do that. Now, here’s the bad news: In real life, where backpacks are overstuffed, thrown over one shoulder and allowed to drag along a kid’s backside, they’re trouble. Read More.

Speaking Up for Speech Therapy: The 14 Best SLP Blogs

Did you know that many SLPs take the time out their busy schedules to share their speech therapy ideas with others online through their blogs? Here’s a list of the top 14 SLP blogs.

Give Us Your Input!

What do you think about the latest health news? Are there any recent discoveries that surprise you? Pique your interest? Are a cause for concern? Share your comments below.


Recent Health Articles Trending on Social Media

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#1The Terminator 30 Years Later: Cyborg Science Now

The film The Terminator was released on October 26, 1984. The plot involved a “cyborg” assassin (Arnold Schwarzenegger) who was programmed to hunt down a woman named Sarah Conner. At the time of the movie release, the possibility of cyborg technology seemed far-fetched and fantastical. But, cyborg technology is no longer considered science fiction. Instead of programming assassins, however, the cyborg research is bringing tangible progress toward real-life electronic skin, prosthetics and ultraflexible circuits, and could aid in the treatment of a variety of conditions including serious neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s.

This form of cyborg technology – termed “nanoelectronics” – was recently unveiled by scientists at the 248th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society. See the video here!

#2APTA Members Receive an Extra Discount on School Supplies

Members of the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) can save on all online or in-store purchases at Office Depot. To start saving, you can download a store discount card or shop online here.

#3Why So Many Kids Can’t Sit Still in School Today

The CDC tells us that in recent years there has been a significant jump in the percentage of young people diagnosed with Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder, commonly known as ADHD. But, why? Angela Hanscom, a pediatric occupational therapist, suggests one very common overlooked reason here.

#4Growing Debate Regarding Neck Manipulation Therapy

In the past few years, a debate has been ongoing in which experts argue over the advantages versus the disadvantages of neck manipulation. Continuing the debate, a recent statement published by the American Heart Association says there is an association between stroke and therapy involving neck manipulation, although they are unable to confirm whether neck manipulation causes stroke or not. Past research has reported that neck manipulation is associated with a risk of cervical artery dissection, a form of arterial tear that is believed to be an important cause of stroke in young and middle-aged adults. However, on August 8, 2014 the APTA challenged the American Heart Association statement. (Read the APTA’s response here.)

Therapists, weigh in on this discussion: How do you feel about neck manipulation? What studies support your position? 

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6 Signs of a Good Occupational Therapist

Parents Magazine recently published what parents should look for when their child needs the services of a pediatric occupational therapists.

Idaho Stuttering Clinic Gives People a Voice

This August, the Northwest Center for Fluency Disorders at ISU combined counselors with speech and language pathologists in a joint effort to help nine clients from throughout the U.S., ages 12 to 34, deal with their lives as people who stutter. Graduates of the workshop were required to give a final speech afternoon to close out the collaborative effort, and their comments spoke volumes about the way fear of stuttering can steal someone’s life and freedom. Read their heart-felt and touching words.

Research Breakthrough: Lack of Vitamin D Doubles Dementia, Alzheimer’s Risk

In the largest study of its kind, research suggests that older people who do not getting enough vitamin D may double their risk of developing dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. The study found that people with low levels of vitamin D had a 53-percent increased risk of developing dementia and those who were severely deficient had a 125-percent increased risk compared to participants with normal levels of vitamin D.

If you cannot view the video above, click here.

Therapy Dog Helps 6 Year Old Boy Move His Arm Again After Brain Surgery

At just the right moment, a dog named Tank gave a 6 year old boy the motivation he needed to get moving again. The boy had a stroke during his surgery in July, and in the 10 days that followed, he couldn’t move his left arm at all. His arm remained motionless during his first three sessions of physical and occupational therapy at Akron Children’s Hospital — but at his fourth session on July 28, a friendly, food-focused therapy dog named Tank entered the room. What happened next was nothing short of amazing!

21 Self-Care Tips to Save Energy & Ease Life With Chronic Illness

Sometimes, even the simplest of tasks may seem daunting. Especially for people living with a chronic illness, or those just coming home after hospitalization, weakness, limited joint motion, compromised breathing, and decreased endurance are common. But, an occupational therapist has listed 21 strategies to help chronically-ill patients conserve energy and complete their daily tasks and self-care effectively.

How Massage Therapists Can Effectively Work with Wheelchair-Bound Clients

There are more than 1.7 million people in the U.S. who depend on wheelchairs and scooters to get around. Most of these people are over the age of 65, which means performing therapeutic massage on them requires specific knowledge about how to work with geriatric clients, as well as clients with mobility issues. Here’s what you need to know.

Give Us Your Input!

What do you think about the latest health news? Are there any recent discoveries that surprise you? Pique your interest? Are a cause for concern? Share your comments below.


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