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  • New in the Literature: Physical Therapy on Balance in People With Multiple Sclerosis (J Rehabil Med. 2012. Sept 19. [Epub ahead of print])

    Authors of a meta-analysis published in the Journal of Rehabilitation Medicine report that their findings indicate small, but significant, effects of physical therapy on balance in people with multiple sclerosis who have a mild to moderate level of disability.

    A systematic literature search was conducted in Medline, Cinahl, Embase, and PEDro, both electronically and manually up to March 2011. The authors selected randomized controlled trials of physical therapy interventions in people with multiple sclerosis, with an outcome measure linked to the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health category "changing and maintaining body position." The quality of studies was determined by the van Tulder criteria. Meta-analyses were performed in subgroups according to the intervention.

    Of the 233 full-text papers screened, 11 studies were included in a qualitative analysis and 7 in a meta-analysis. The methodological quality of the studies ranged from poor to moderate. Low evidence was found for the efficacy of specific balance exercises, physical therapy based on an individualized problem-solving approach, and resistance and aerobic exercises on improving balance among ambulatory people with multiple sclerosis.

    APTA's 'Fit After 50' Campaign Officially Under Way

    APTA's  Fit After 50 campaign is officially under way. Launched in conjunction with National Physical Therapy Month, Fit After 50 is designed to reach Baby Boomers with the message that physical therapists play a vital role in helping people aged 50 and older remain active, fit, and mobile as they age.

    Check out 50 Days, 50 Ways, a daily series of 50 tips for Baby Boomers from APTA members about how to prevent injury and maintain mobility by staying active and fit. Find the tips on www.moveforwardpt.com/FitAfter50, Twitter @MoveForwardPT, and Facebook.com/MoveForwardPT. Encourage your friends, family, colleagues, and community members who are 50 and older to visit the site and share the tips with their social networks.

    Also check out the APTA Fit After 50 Member Challenge, an opportunity to nominate a deserving APTA member, including yourself, who is 50 years old or older and committed to being active and fit, and encourages others to be the same. Go to www.apta.org/FitAfter50/ to learn more about the campaign and submit your nomination.

    If you are currently helping people aged 50 and older to remain active and fit as they age, let us know by contacting public-relations@apta.org.

    Additional House Proposal Town Halls Scheduled

    Thanks to the many members who have joined the virtual town halls to discuss the House governance proposals! The discussions have been rich and the input very informative. Based on attendee feedback, 2 additional town halls have been scheduled for Thursday, October 18, and Tuesday, October 23; 1 session will be offered on each of those evenings at 9:00 pm-10:30 pm, ET. The topics will be chosen by you. What would you like to discuss? What topic have we missed? Let us know. Suggest ideas via the Additional Thoughts comment blog posted to www.apta.org/governancereview. Contact Amber Neil if you are interested in attending. Can't join a town hall? Have your voice heard via the comment blogs on the following topics: House constituency, House activity, and Resolutions Committee.

    Providers With Work-Family Conflict More Likely to Experience Musculoskeletal Pain

    A study by The George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services suggests that the higher the work-family conflict the greater the risk that health care workers will suffer from neck and other types of musculoskeletal pain. 

    To examine if an association exists between work-family conflict and musculoskeletal pain among hospital patient care workers, researchers conducted a survey among 2,000 hospital workers who provided direct patient care in 2 large Boston hospitals. Nearly 80% of the workers took the survey. The research team included 1,199 patient care workers in the current analysis. The team assessed work-family conflict with 5 questions. Researchers asked workers if they agreed with statements such as "The amount of time my job takes up makes it difficult to fulfill family or personal responsibilities" and "My job produces strain that makes it difficult to fulfill my family or personal responsibilities."

    In addition, the team used a questionnaire to assess how much the participants in the study experienced musculoskeletal pain during the previous 3 months. It also recorded factors that might affect the outcome of the study, such as the amount of on-the-job lifting or pulling.

    The researchers discovered that nurses and other employees who reported high conflict between their job duties and obligations at home had about a 2 times greater chance of suffering from neck or shoulder pain in the last 3 months. Workers with the highest work-life imbalance had nearly a 3 times greater risk of reporting arm pain during that period.

    The researchers found that workers who reported a lot of conflict had more than a 2 times greater chance of experiencing any kind of musculoskeletal pain. At the same time, the research found no lasting link between this kind of ongoing conflict and lower back pain, which might be caused when hospital workers lift heavy patients on a regular basis.

    Lead author Seung-Sup Kim says that the work-home conflict might exacerbate shortages of key health professionals caused when burned-out nurses or other health professionals retire early or leave the field because of the stress. In addition, Kim says, workers distracted by issues at home or by ongoing muscular pain might be more likely to call in sick or if they do show up for work might provide less than attentive care.