Autism Update on Advance

Here is an article published on Advance, which talks about some recent research findings on Autism.

Faint magnetic signals from brain activity in children with autism demonstrate they process sound and language differently. Identifying and classifying these brain response patterns may allow researchers to accurately diagnose autism and possibly develop more effective treatments for the developmental disorder.

Timing appears to be crucial. Children with autism respond a fraction of a second slower to vowel tones and sounds than healthy children, revealed study leader Timothy Roberts, PhD, vice chair of radiology research and holder of the Oberkircher Family Endowed Chair in Pediatric Radiology at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

To determine this response time, Roberts used a technology called magnetoencephalography (MEG), which detects magnetic fields in the brain, just as electroencephalography (EEG) detects electrical fields.

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Hopefully this new technology will help in the early diagnosis and intervention of children with ASD.

Activity Strategy Training for People with Osteoarthritis

A new study led by researchers at the University of Michigan Health System shows that an occupational therapist-led approach – called activity strategy training – could provide patients with knee and hip osteoarthritis the opportunity to lead more active lives and even improve their overall health.

Physical activity is the cornerstone of any healthy lifestyle – and especially for people with osteoarthritis as exercise helps maintain good joint health, manage their symptoms, and prevent functional decline. Osteoarthritis, however, often makes physical activity, such as exercise, and even performing daily activities, a challenge.

In the pilot study, the researchers found that patients who engaged in activity strategy training along with regular exercise increased their physical activity, more so than those patients who only took part in exercise and health education sessions. Study results are now online and are set to appear in the October issue of Arthritis & Rheumatism.

“Occupational therapy is really the missing link in promoting wellness of people with hip and knee osteoarthritis,” says study lead author Susan L. Murphy, Sc.D., OTR, assistant professor in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at the U-M Medical School and Research Health Science Specialist at the VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System.

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Source:  Science Daily

National School Backpack Awareness Day

September 17 is National School Backpack Awareness Day in the US and it focuses to help students to “Pack It Right, Wear It Light.”

Here are ten tips to avoid backpack-related health problems as published by the American Occupational Therapy Association:

  1. Never let a child carry more than 15% of his or her body weight. This means a child who weighs 100 pounds shouldn’t wear a backpack heavier than 15 pounds.
  2. Load heaviest items closest to the child’s back and arrange books and materials to prevent them from sliding.
  3. Always wear both shoulder straps. Wearing only one strap can cause a child to lean to one side, curving the spine and causing pain or discomfort.
  4. Select a pack with well-padded shoulder straps. Too much pressure on shoulders and necks can cause pain and tingling.
  5. Adjust the shoulder straps so that the pack fits snugly to the child’s back. The bottom of the pack should rest in the curve of the lower back, never more than four inches below the child’s waistline.
  6. Use the waist belt, if the backpack has one, to help distribute the pack’s weight more evenly.
  7. Check what your child carries to school and brings home to make sure the items are necessary to the day’s activities.
  8. If the backpack is too heavy, consider using a book bag on wheels if your child’s school allows it.
    Choose the right size pack for your child’s back as well as one with enough room for necessary school items.
  9. If a student is experiencing back pain or neck soreness, consult your physician or occupational therapist.

Source: AOTA

Related Link: Study: Most University Students Self-Report Discomfort Pain Due to Backpack Usage

Teaching patients Alexander technique has long-term benefits

The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP) has recently recognised new research on the effectiveness of the Alexander technique in dealing with chronic back pain.

Study Findings
More than 500 patients with chronic or recurrent low back pain took part in the study over a year.

They were given either normal GP care (control), six sessions of massage, or six or 24 lessons on the Alexander technique. A doctor also prescribed half the patients in each group exercise.

Compared with the control group, all interventions showed ‘significant’ reductions in days in pain at three months, but the benefits of massage did not last beyond that.

The study found that the Alexander technique and exercise were ‘helpful in the long term’.

Six lessons in the Alexander technique followed by exercise prescription were almost as effective as 24 lessons.

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Related Link:
Randomised controlled trial of Alexander technique lessons, exercise, and massage (ATEAM) for chronic and recurrent back pain from the British Medical Journal

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