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  • Lack of Cognitive Rest Can Impede Concussion Recovery

    A new study supports the consensus view that for young people recovering from concussions, too much cognitive activity too soon can actually slow the return to normal functioning.

    The findings are reported in the January 6 issue of Pediatrics (abstract only available for free), and involved reports on cognitive activity over a series of visits on 335 patients aged 8-23 who suffered a concussion. The study group was composed of 62% males with 19% of the entire group reporting loss of consciousness and 37% reporting amnesia at the time of injury. Mean duration of symptoms was 43 days.

    Researchers divided the participants into quartiles based on self-reports of cognitive activities between visits. The ratings ranged from "minimal cognitive activity" (no reading, no homework, fewer than 5 text messages per day, fewer than 20 minutes per day of screen-based activity) to "full cognitive activity" (no restrictions on cognitive activity). The study revealed that the participants who reported full cognitive activity soon after concussion had a markedly slower recovery rate than those who restricted higher-level mental work.

    Authors noted that the differences occurred only between the most active quartile and the rest, and were not graduated based on the levels reported. "This seems to suggest that while limiting cognitive activity is associated with shorter duration of symptoms, complete abstinence from cognitive activity may be unnecessary," the authors wrote, adding that the study seems to indicate that the negative effects of cognitive activity appear to take place during the earlier phases of recovery.

    Physical therapists (PTs) play an important role in the treatment of individuals who have suffered concussions. Get the latest information on these injuries and what’s being done to reduce them at the APTA traumatic brain injury webpage.

    'Simple' Measures Reduce MRSA Rates in Long-Term Care Facilities

    Adherence to "a simple bundle of infection prevention and control strategies" has significantly reduced the incidence of methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infections in Veterans Administration (VA) long-term care facilities.

    According to a press release (.pdf) from the American Journal of Infection Control, a study published this month reveals that the 133 facilities studied experienced a 36% overall decrease in MRSA infections, despite an overall rise in admissions of individuals with MRSA colonizations. The study was conducted over the span of 42 months.

    The decrease was attributed to the protocols outlined in the VA's MRSA Prevention Initiative (.pdf), an approach that involves patient screening, use of gowns and gloves, hand hygiene, and "an institutional culture change focusing on individual responsibility for infection control," according to the press release. The prevention initiative also calls for the creation of a MRSA Prevention Coordinator at each facility.

    The prevention measures have already proven effective in acute care settings, and the new study indicates that they can be just as valuable in long-term facilities.

    Check out the APTA MRSA webpage for more information on the role of physical therapists and physical therapist assistants in reducing these infections.

    Foundation Raises Over $150K at Private Practice Conference

    The Foundation for Physical Therapy raised over $150,000 for the Center of Excellence (COE) for Health Services/Health Policy Research Campaign during the 2013 APTA Private Practice Conference and Exposition, an achievement reached in large part through support from APTA Private Practice Section (PPS) board members and the Institute of Private Practice Physical Therapy.

    The 2013 PPS annual conference was held in November in New Orleans. There, PPS and Institute board members supported the Foundation's fundraising efforts as a way to respond to the physical therapy profession's urgent need for data supporting innovative practice models, access to evidenced-based physical therapy services, and efforts to attain fair reimbursement. PPS has been a strong supporter of the Foundation for more than a decade, donating nearly $300,000 including a $120,000 contribution to the COE initiative in 2013.

    In a press release, Foundation President William G. Boissonnault, PT, DPT, DHSc, FAPTA, FAAOMPT, is quoted as saying, “We are extremely grateful to the leadership of the Private Practice Section and the Institute of Private Practice Physical Therapy, and the PPS members." The recent donations will help the Foundation reach its goal of surpassing the $3 million needed to fully establish the COE, an institution that will train the next generation of physical therapist investigators.

    Contributions to the Foundation for Physical Therapy are tax-deductible and can be made online or sent to its headquarters at 1111 North Fairfax Street, Alexandria, VA 22314. For more information, e-mail Barbara Malm or call 800/875-1378.