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  • APTA Launches First Fall Legislative Cosponsor Drive

    APTA is launching its first annual Fall Cosponsor Drive and needs your help. Building upon the success of the Federal Advocacy Forum, held April 22-24, APTA wants to reach 200 cosponsors for Medicare therapy cap repeal legislation (HR 1546) and 150 cosponsors for student loan repayment legislation (HR 1426) by December 31. Currently, the bills have 170 and 117 cosponsors, respectively. APTA has been working diligently to educate members of Congress on Capitol Hill about these issues and now needs association members to echo these messages at the local level. Several congressional representatives have requested that PTs, PTAs, and PT students contact their district offices and express their support for these bills. This is your opportunity to contact your representative and ask him or her to cosponsor HR 1546 and HR 1426.

    APTA has several resources to help you educate your legislator on these issues. You can identify if your representative is currently a cosponsor, view position papers and background information, and track the progress of the Cosponsor Drive on the Medicare Therapy Cap and Student Loan Repayment Cosponsor Drive webpages. You also can e-mail your representative and ask him or her to repeal the therapy cap and support legislation allowing physical therapy students to participate in loan forgiveness programs.

    If you have questions about the Cosponsor Drive, contact APTA's Grassroots and Political Affairs Department at 800/999-2782, ext 3170, or advocacy@apta.org.

    Midlife Fitness Keeps Chronic Disease at Bay

    Being physically during midlife not only helps extend lifespan, but it also increases the chances of aging healthily, free from chronic illness, investigators at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center and The Cooper Institute have found.

    The association between cardiorespiratory fitness and mortality is well described, say the study's authors. However, it previously had been unknown just how much fitness might affect the burden of chronic disease in the most senior years—a concept known as morbidity compression.

    Researchers examined the patient data of 18,670 participants in the Cooper Center Longitudinal Study, research that contains more than 250,000 medical records maintained over a 40-year span. These data were linked with the patients' Medicare claims filed later in life from ages 70 to 85. Analyses during the latest study showed that when patients increased fitness levels by 20% in their 30s, 40s, and 50s, they decreased their chances of developing chronic diseases—congestive heart failure, Alzheimer disease, and colon cancer—decades later by 20%.

    "What sets this study apart is that it focuses on the relationship between midlife fitness and quality of life in later years," said Benjamin Willis, MD, MPH, lead author of the study. "Fitter individuals aged well with fewer chronic illnesses to impact their quality of life."

    This positive effect continued until the end of life, with more-fit individuals living their final 5 years of life with fewer chronic diseases. The effects were the same in both men and women.

    The study was published online August 27 in Archives of Internal Medicine.  

    Mobile App Helps Women Learn About Health in 52 Weeks

    A new app from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) offers women access to a year's worth of practical health information, highlighted week by week.

    The app can help women identify health risks for themselves and their families, and can help them create and maintain healthy lifestyles throughout their lives. Questions to ask health care providers, a glossary of health terms, and health screening information and links to additional information from NIH institutes and centers expand the mobile app's offerings.

    Key features of the app are:

    •a personal health section for recording medications, medical conditions, and disabilities

    •a journal feature

    •a personal goal-setting section for health and lifestyle details

    The app is based on the Primer for Women's Health: Learn about Your Body in 52 Weeks, published by NIH's Office of Research on Women's Health.

    Content also is accessible without the use of a handheld device, at http://52weeks4women.nih.gov/. In the near future, NIH will launch an app for men's health with similar features.