Chronic LBP Study Modified Due to Pandemic Finds Promise for Physical Therapy Delivered Via Teleconference
Researchers assessed outcomes of 126 patients with chronic low back pain who enrolled in a telehealth version of a protocol known as OPTIMIZE, originally employed as part of an in-person clinical trial. At 26 weeks, participants reported an average 8.44-point drop on the Owswestry disability index, from 40.21 to 31.77. Nonparticipants dropped from 42.76 to 37.65 on average.
New in Research
Researchers Say Impact of Pandemic on Delivery of Physical Therapy for TKA, THA was 'Limited'
Researchers who tracked rates of physical therapy delivered to 39 THA patients and 40 TKA patients during the COVID-19 pandemic found that session frequency remained about the same as rates before the pandemic — an average of two sessions per week, with a fairly similar distribution of duration times. The transition to mostly remote delivery of physical therapy resulted patients experiencing "similar or better" outcomes related to pain reduction, muscle strength, and function, according to authors. The study was published in Musculoskeletal Care.
In-Utero Exposure to SARS-CoV-2 May Be Linked to Neurodevelopmental Effects After Birth
A study published in JAMA Network open analyzed data from 7,772 live births including births to 222 SARS-CoV-2 mothers and found a greater rate of neurodevelopmental diagnoses among mothers who tested positive for COVID-19 during their pregnancies. Most diagnoses were related to motor function or speech/language. The mothers who tested positive were also more likely to have delivered their babies pre-term.
Study of COVID-19 Patients Uncovers Bias in Pulse Oximetry
An analysis of 7,126 patients with COVID-19 found that pulse oximetry overestimated oxygen saturation among patients who were Black, Hispanic, or Asian compared with white patients. The overestimation resulted in what authors describe as a "systematic failure to identify Black and Hispanic patients who were qualified to received COVID-19 therapy and a statistically significant delay in recognizing the guideline-recommended threshold for initiation of therapy." The researchers say the devices' accuracy has not been explored sufficiently. The article was published in JAMA Internal Medicine.
In the Media
COVID-19 Restrictions Linked to Other Viruses Behaving "In New and Peculiar Ways"
From CNBC: "The Covid-19 pandemic has abated in much of the world and, with it, many of the social restrictions implemented to curb its spread, as people have been eager to return to pre-lockdown life. But in its place have emerged a series of viruses behaving in new and peculiar ways."
U.S. Lifts International Travel COVID Testing Requirement
From Voice of America: "The Biden administration is lifting its requirement that international travelers test negative for COVID-19 within a day before boarding a flight to the United States, ending one of the last remaining government mandates designed to contain the spread of the coronavirus."
Pandemic Exposes Gaps in Rural Health Care Around the World
From Scientific American: "Throughout the pandemic, the SARS-CoV-2 virus has laid bare weak points in the world’s health care systems. This has been true in arguably every country and every community, but the fractures have been especially apparent in rural areas, where poor access to health care long predated the pandemic."
White House: COVID-19 Vaccinations for Children 5 and Under Could Begin June 21
From POLITICO: "Covid-19 vaccinations for the nation’s youngest children could begin as early as June 21, White House coronavirus response coordinator Ashish Jha said today. States can start ordering children’s vaccines on [June 17], Jha said during a White House press briefing, but orders won’t ship until the Food and Drug Administration authorizes the shots for kids between 6 months and 5 years old."
COVID-19 Cases Tick Downward Slightly, Death Rates Remain Lower but Steady
Total coronavirus cases have reached 85,543,732 as of June 13, according to the CDC COVID-19 Data Tracker. The seven-day average of new cases is 103,935 as of June 14, a downward trend from a late-May surge of about 160,000. Despite the rise in cases, deaths continue to slow, with a seven-day average of 276 as of June 14, down only slightly from a 283 seven-day average a month earlier. The most recent available seven-day average for hospitalizations, June 7-13, is 4,362, a 6.5% increase from the previous average. As of June 15, 82.9% of the total U.S. population five and older has received at least one dose of vaccination, with 71% fully vaccinated. Half of the booster-eligible population has received a booster dose, and only about one-quarter — 25.2% — have received a second booster. The U.S. death total from COVID-19 now exceeds 1 million.
One in Five COVID-19 Survivors Has Experienced Conditions After Overcoming Infection
A recent report on patients who experience persistent symptoms after SARS-CoV-2 found that one in five COVID-19 survivors experienced at least one incident condition that is likely attributable to the infection. The report states that "the occurrence of incident conditions following infection might also affect a patient’s ability to contribute to the workforce and might have economic consequences for survivors and their dependents, particularly among adults aged 18-64 years."
Food and Drug Administration Approves Moderna, Pfizer Vaccines for Children as Young as Six Months
As anticipated, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration officially authorized use of the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines for children down to six months of age. The Moderna vaccine previously had been authorized for individuals 18 and older; the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was authorized for individuals five years and older.