Posts Tagged ‘physical rehabilitation’

Hip fracture in Parkinson’s disease (PD)

Published in Movement Disorders, 02/26/2013 Dr. Walker compares the incidence and outcomes of Parkinson’s disease (PD) who suffer hip fracture compared to non PD patients in North East England. The team from the Department of Medicine, North Tyneside General Hospital, United Kingdom saw that PD patients had poorer mobility before hip fracture, had less mobility post surgery and took longer to be discharged into community physical rehabilitation. The team concludes that occupational and physiotherapists managing people with PD who sustain a hip fracture should be aware of potential complications of the condition to improve physical rehabilitation outcomes.


Neurological outcome and spinal cord injury

Spinal cord injury rehabilitation

Kalsi–Ryan S et al in the January edition of World Neurosurgery discuss how the use of functional tests such as the Spinal Cord Independence Measure, Functional Independence Measure together with neurological impairment measures e.g the International Standards for Neurological Classification and electrophysiological measures will provide more insight to the post physical rehabilitation outcome than either of the predictors taken alone.


Four Ways to Treat Apraxia


Generally speaking Apraxia is the loss of  ability to execute or carry out learned purposeful movements, despite having the desire and the physical ability to perform the movements.
When a brain tumor/lesion is the cause of apraxia, sometimes the apraxia can be diminished or cured   by treating the cause. Surgery, chemotherapy and radiation   are the standard courses of treatment for a brain tumor. Even after treatment, it’s common for some of the tumor to remain, but reducing it may help to treat symptoms of apraxia. Some rehabilitation therapy may still be needed to regain the ability to speak or perform everyday tasks.
Occupational and physical therapists usually treat the patient where one or more body parts is affected . Physical therapists   teach the motor skills needed to perform  everyday tasks which is the purvue of occupational therapists.   Usually these two therapies complement each other but they can be used independently if the situation calls for it. For mild to moderate apraxia, these therapies usually are focused on restoring movements lost  resulting   a neurological event. This is usually accomplished with repetition of these movements and other drills.
The prognosis for severe apraxia is not as good, but therapy can  compensate for some of the lost movements in different ways. For example, a patient with severe apraxia that has limited ability to walk may be able to use a walker in rehabilitation therapy. Or a patient with apraxia of speech to the point of muteness can be taught to communicate with gestures or sign language. Experienced rehabilitation specialists can evaluate the patient to determine the best approach for therapy. Often compensation therapy is used if restorative therapy isn’t effective.
Developmental apraxia of speech in children requires speech and language therapy for treatment. Unlike some cases of acquired apraxia of speech, developmental apraxia of speech does not resolve spontaneously. Speech therapy typically involves repetition of words and phrases, drills in front of a mirror and many other exercises. How the therapy is conducted is highly individualized. Parents are encouraged to continue exercises at home and provide a supportive environment. With adequate therapy, the prognosis for most children with developmental apraxia is good.
When children from the age of 5 and up as well as adults can benefit from intensive exercises for Apraxia-related limb disabilities the TUTOR system of physical therapy products is very useful. Specifically the HANDTUTOR, ARMTUTOR and LEGTUTOR provide
 a key system in neuromuscular rehabilitation and physical therapy for interactive rehabilitation exercise. These innovative devices implement an impairment based program with augmented feedback and encourage motor learning through intensive active exercises. These exercises are challenging and motivating and allow for repetitive training tailored to the patient’s performance by the occupational and physical therapist.This ensures that the patient stays motivated to do intensive repetitive manual therapy and exercise practice.
 The HANDTUTOR, LEGTUTOR, ARMTUTOR and 3DTUTOR are now  part of the rehabilitation program of leading U.S. and European hospitals and clinics. Home care patients can use the TUTORs through tele-rehabilitation. The TUTOR system is fully certified by the FDA and CE. See WWW.MEDITOUCH.CO.IL for more information.


The Connection Between MS and Vitamin D

Researchers conducted a study that appeared in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry and published by the Jerusalem Post on December 23, 2012 in which they suggest that pregnant women take vitamin D supplements to ward of  MS, as not enough of the vitamin is produced in the skin from the sun’s ultraviolet rays. It has been a known fact that  MS can be contracted by people living in countries with little sunlight. The risk of developing MS is highest during April and lowest during October according to available analysis.
The researchers compared previously published data on almost 152,000 people with MS with expected birth rates for the disease in a bid to find out if there was any link between country of birth and risk of developing MS. At latitudes greater than 52 degrees from the equator, insufficient ultraviolet light of the correct wave length reaches the skin between October and March to enable the body to manufacture enough vitamin D during the winter months.
There was a significant increase in risk among those born in April and May and a significant lower risk among those born in October and November. The studies were only conducted in the northern hemisphere and that should be considered in this analysis.
The researchers state that through combining existing datasets for month of birth and subsequent MS risk, this study provides the strongest evidence to date that the month of birth effect is a genuine one. This supports previous hypotheses and adds weight to the argument for early intervention studies that recommended supplementing the diet with vitamin D to prevent MS.
When MS, nevertheless, develops its limb disabling symptoms the most effective physical therapy solution should be used. Such a solution can be found in the TUTOR system of physical therapy products.
 The recently developed HANDTUTOR and its sister devices (ARMTUTOR, LEGTUTOR, 3DTUTOR) have become a key system in neuromuscular rehabilitation for stroke victims and those recovering from MS,brain and spinal injuries, Parkinson’s, CP and other limb movement limitations.
These innovative devices implement an impairment based program with augmented motion feedback that encourages motor learning through intensive active exercises and movement practice. The TUTORs consist of a wearable glove and braces that detect limb movement showing the patient how much active or assisted active movement they are actually doing. The rehabilitation software uses special rehabilitation games to set a new target for this movement in terms of the patient’s ability to move their limb. The devices then measure the limb movement and give feedback on the success of the patient in trying to gain this new movement objective. In this  way the patient is given movement feedback that allows the patient to understand which effort is more successful in moving their affected limb again. The Tutor system provides exercises that are challenging and motivating and allow for repetitive and intensive exercise practice.
The Tutor system is now part of the rehabilitation program of leading U.S. German, Italian, French, UK and other foreign hospitals. See WWW.MEDITOUCH.CO.IL for more information.

Brain Stimulation Helps Parkinson’s Patients

There are several medications available to Parkinson’s patients to relieve their symptoms but when they aren’t effective a procedure called deep brain stimulation (DBS) is sometimes used. DBS consists of surgically implanting electrodes in deep brain structures that help control movement, and then delivering stimulation through the electrodes with a device very much like a pacemaker. One common target is the subthalamic nucleus (STN). The problem has been that although DBS can relieve movement problems it may incur problems in the patient’s cognition. Doctor’s do not fully understand the reasons for that.
A theory is being investigated by Dr. Joel Perlmutter, a professor of neurology and radiology at Washington University in St. Louis, Mo. to try to improve DBS and reduce its side effects. He has been targeting the stimulation to one particular site in the brain and avoiding another nearby site. Funding for the research is being provided from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke through a recent congressional act called ARRA.
Studies show that stimulating the dorsal part (top) of the STN  can lead to desirable activity in the brain’s motor pathways, while stimulating the ventral part (bottom) can lead to negative activity in other brain pathways that are involved in cognition.
Dr. Perlmutter, together with his team, will examine Parkinson’s patients who have received DBS to the STN, and to try to pinpoint the location of the electrodes – which can possibly change after surgery. Their purpose is to  analyze how electrode location affects the  motor symptoms, cognitive function and cortical activity. In order to  locate the electrodes, the team instituted a method that involves reconstructing 2-D brain scans into 3-D maps, and then using landmarks in and around the STN for orientation.
From this research there should be a better understanding of how DBS works and improvements made in  treating Parkinson’s. This will include a better design and targeting of the electrodes. Besides that, the research is expected to yield insights into the function of the STN and how it is involved in other neurological disorders.
When Parkinson’s disease causes movement disorders physical therapy solutions become vital. The HANDTUTOR has been in the forefront of Parkinson’s patient exercise therapy for some time now. The HANDTUTOR consists of a safe comfortable glove with position and speed sensors that precisely record finger and wrist motion. Rehabilitation games allow the patient to exercise Range of Motion, speed and accuracy of movement opposition and pinch movement practice. The HANDTUTOR facilitates evaluation and treatment of isolated and combined finger/s and wrist joint.
Together with its sister devices (ARMTUTOR, LEGTUTOR, 3DTUTOR) the HANDTUTOR is currently in use in leading U.S. and European hospitals and rehabilitation clinics. They are fully certified by the FDA and CE and are available for use in the patient’s home through telerehabilitation.
See WWW.MEDITOUCH.CO.IL for further information.

Five Ways to Relieve Arthritis Pain

Arthritis has no known cure–just relief from pain. It’s called– exercise. Below are 5 exercises that are designed to bring joint relief, relieve stress and assist in weight loss. They can be fun too.
Doctors say that physical activity  is the best medicine  there is for arthritis pain relief, .
Patience White, M.D., chief public health officer of the Arthritis Foundation and professor of medicine and pediatrics at the George Washington University School of Medicine states that exercise can decrease pain, especially for people with osteoarthritis which is the most common type of arthritis.
 In the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews it was reported that exercise, such as walking, was  as effective  as drugs like Aleve or Advil in reducing knee pain.
By working out regularly it  may prevent sore joints and stop arthritis from getting worse.
Kevin Fontaine, Ph.D., assistant professor of medicine at the Center for Mind-Body Research at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore states that  physically active people  have a higher quality of life and are less likely to become disabled or have days with lots of pain.
 Workouts also keep off the pounds. Obesity can increase the risk of arthritis and/or make its symptoms worse.
 Just 20 minutes three times a week or two 10 minute intervals is enough to make a difference according to Arthritis Today, the journal of the Atlanta-based Arthritis Foundation.
There are also new medications that can help relieve arthritis pain and swelling allowing patients to work out according to  Halsted Holman, M.D., professor emeritus of medicine and former director of the Stanford Multi-Purpose Arthritis Center at Stanford University’s School of Medicine.
Generally it is necessary to begin exercising only with a physician’s agreement.
A workout should be a challenging experience, but not painful enough to cause injury, Dr. Holman says.
 If you have sore joints or muscle pain that continues for even two hours after exercising or if the pain is worse the next day then the exercises were overdone. In that case the workout should be shortened or done more gently.
Here are 5 arthritis exercises that are sure to ease  arthritis symptoms:
1. Walking
 Walking is known to strengthen muscles, which in turn helps shift pressure away from the joints, and reduces pain.
 It also brings nourishing oxygen to the  joints by compressing and releasing cartilage in the knees.
 The Arthritis Foundation recommends walking 10 minutes at least 3-5 days a week to start.
As you progress, take longer walks and include short bursts of speed getting to a moderate pace until you are able to walk 3-4 miles an hour.
 People with serious hip or knee problems should first check with their doctor before beginning a walking program.
2. Water Exercise
How it helps: The University of Washington Department of Orthopedics and Sports Medicine recommends warm water – between 83˚ F and 90˚ F – to help relax  muscles and decrease pain.
Swimming and aerobics exercises in water are good for stiff, sore joints.
Water also supports the body as one moves. This reduces stress on the knees, hips  and spine, and offers resistance without any weights.
Water exercises are  ideal for people who need to relieve severe arthritis pain in knees and hips.
Arthritis Today quotes “Water provides 12 times the resistance of air, so one is  really strengthening and building muscle”.
When immersed in the water don’t pedal faster than 50-60 revolutions a minute. Add resistance  after a warm up period of  five minutes and don’t add more pedaling than you can handle.
Matthew Goodemote, head physical therapist at Community Physical Therapy & Wellness in Gloversville, N.Y.  says that indoor cycling is one of the best ways to get a cardiovascular workout without stressing weight-bearing joints.
 Since there’s no need to lean the bike to turn a stationary bike is  a good option for people with balance issues – a common problem among some arthritis patients.
 When starting this arthritis exercise be sure that the seat height is at a position which allows the knee to be completely straight  when the pedal is at the lowest point, according to the University of Washington Department of Orthopedics and Sports Medicine.
One should not pedal faster than 50-60 revolutions per minute. A warm up period of five minutes should be allowed at first. Then patients should start 5 minute sessions 3 times a day. Then increase gradually to 7 and up to 20 minutes a day providing there is no pain.
 People with very painful knees should avoid indoor cycling, because it can aggravate the condition.
4. Yoga
 Steffany Haaz, MFA, a certified movement analyst, registered yoga teacher and research coordinator at Johns Hopkins Arthritis Center says that beginner yoga classes that have simple, gentle movements gradually build balance, strength  and flexibility  which are elements that can be  beneficial for people with arthritis.
Yoga  reduces inflammation, increases energy and, in general, allows for a more positive mental outlook, according to Psychosomatic Medicine, an Ohio State University study published in their journal.
To start, take a class at a  gym,  community center or yoga studio. You can find a certified teacher through the Yoga Alliance, the accrediting body for yoga instructors worldwide. It is important to tell the instructor before class about your  arthritis  so that they can  modify poses to accommodate your limited mobility.
For those that prefer doing Yoga at home,  there is a company called Gaiam that produces yoga videos and recently collaborated with the Mayo Clinic to produce a DVD entitled  “The Arthritis Wellness Solution” . It contains tips from specialists and a segment showing specific yoga for arthritis sufferers  and includes meditation exercises which are designed to enhance circulation and  relieve tension which helps relieve arthritis pain.
 Yoga should never hurt. If it does that means it’s overdone.
Straps, blankets and chairs can be used  to accommodate people with  limited range of motion, strength or balance.
5. Tai Chi
This traditional style of Chinese martial arts  goes back centuries and features slow, rhythmic movements to induce mental relaxation and enhance balance, flexibility and strength.
Tai chi is very valuable to arthritis patients because its movements are very slow and controlled. They put little force on the joints.
Some studies have shown that Tai Chi can improve life satisfaction, mental well-being  and perceptions of health, which oppose negative effects of  pain associated with arthritis.
The November 2009 issue of Arthritis Care & Research, a journal of the American College of Rheumatology has an article that describes Tai Chi as being beneficial for knee pain. Another research study by a Tufts University group found that Tai Chi was especially helpful for patients that were over 65 and had knee osteoarthritis.
According to another university’s Orthopedics and Sports Medicine department, Tai chi should preferably be done in the morning,  when there is  least pain and stiffness, when you’re not tired and when the arthritis medication is most effective.
Taking a warm shower is always a good idea before exercise if joints are stiff.
One of the most effective exercise programs for arthritis sufferers is by using the TUTOR system of physical therapy products. The HANDTUTOR, ARMTUTOR, LEGTUTOR and 3DTUTOR were originally designed to help patients that suffered a stroke, brain injury, Parkinson’s or other upper and lower limb disabilities. However much relief has been gained for arthritis patients as well  who would like a challenging and entertaining system of exercising arthritic joints. The TUTORs are ergonomically designed gloves and braces that contain sensors connected to sophisticated exercise games. The physical and occupational therapists monitor and record the progress made and design a customized exercise program for that patient.
Currently in use in leading U.S. and European hospitals and clinics the TUTORs are fully certified by the FDA and CE. They are also available in the home through the use of telerehabilitation and can be used by adults and children from the age of 5 and up.
See WWW.MEDITOUCH.CO.IL for further information.

Chocolate Eater Makes Medical History

A 52 year old woman, named Jan  Scheuermann, ate chocolate after a brain operation. So what? One might ask. However this simple act made history because Jan is paralyzed from the neck down

Originally diagnosed with a degenerative brain disorder 13 years prior  doctors implanted tiny electrodes in her brain which allowed her to operate a robotic  arm.

Jan’s ultimate wish was  to feed herself chocolate once the electrodes had been in place.

Doctors, led by Professor Andrew Schwartz of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, applauded her feat.

The arm is a  prosthetic controlled directly by the brain and  this achievement marked a major step for people who are unable to move their own arms.

“Our study has shown us that it is technically feasible to restore ability and gives patients hope for the future”, said Dr. Schwartz.

The two  microelectrodes were implanted into Jan’s left motor cortex. This is the part of the brain that initiates movement.

A scanning technique called ”functional magnetic resonance imaging” (fMRI) located the  part of the brain that lights up when the patient is asked to think about moving her paralyzed arms.

The electrodes were connected to the robotic hand through a computer which ran an  algorithm to translate the signals that imitates the way an unimpaired brain is able to control healthy limbs.

Decoding human motion has no limit now. It is quite complex when one works on parts like the hand for example, but  once the desired motion is tapped  how that motion will be effected has a wide range of possibilities according to the medical researchers.

For those brain injured patients that still have arm mobility the ARMTUTOR and HANDTUTOR offer an effective physical therapy solution.

The ARMTUTOR and HANDTUTOR systems have been developed to allow for functional rehabilitation of the upper extremity including the shoulder, elbow and wrist. The system consists of an ergonomic wearable glove and arm brace together with dedicated rehabilitation software. The ARMTUTOR and HANDTUTOR systems allow the physical and occupational therapist to report on and evaluate the patient’s functional rehabilitation progress. This allows the PT and OT to prescribe the correct customized and motivating intensive exercise practice to the manual rehabilitation therapy. Intensive repetition of movement is achieved through  challenging games set to the patient’s  ability. The system provides detailed exercise performance instructions and precise feedback on the patient’s efforts. Controlled exercise of multijoints within the normal movement pattern prevents the development of undesired and compensatory joint movement and ensures better performance of functional tasks. Telerehabilitation allows the recovering patient to continue his physical therapy at home. The system is used by many leading rehabilitation centers worldwide and has full FDA and CE certification.

See WWW.MEDITOUCH.CO.IL  for more information.