Thursday, March 8, 2012

Dementia, Stroke Risk Tied to Walking Speed, Grip Strength

Findings from an analysis of data from the Framingham Offspring Cohort revealed that walking speed and hand-grip strength in middle age correlated with the risk of stroke and dementia in later years. Participants in the Framingham study were the children of the subjects of long-range research regarding cardiovascular disease.
A baseline walking speed that was slower than average was associated with a 50% increase in the likelihood of developing dementia. Grip strength was not a factor in stroke risk, but a high baseline grip strength went along with a 42% reduction in stroke risk for people 65 and older. The study will be presented in New Orleans in April at the annual American Academy of Neurology meeting.
According to MedPage Today, lead author Erica C. Camargo, MD, PhD, of Boston Medical Center issued a statement saying, "These are basic office tests [that] can provide insight into the risk of dementia and stroke and can be easily performed by a neurologist or general practitioner. While frailty and lower physical performance in elderly people have been associated with an increased risk of dementia, we weren't sure until now how it impacted people of middle age."

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Stroke patients maintain benefits of robot therapy

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Stroke patients who have the most trouble walking may see lasting benefits from using machines that move their legs to simulate walking, say Italian researchers.

Their study, although small, is one of the first to observe a benefit lasting at least two years in a group of stroke patients who used the machines, which are sometimes employed in conjunction with traditional physical therapy.

The new findings should help doctors target which stroke patients will benefit the most from the machines according to lead author Dr. Giovanni Morone, of the Santa Lucia Foundation in Rome.

"Robotic and electromechanical devices might play an important role, not for all patients, but for a selected kind of patients," said Morone in an email.

The new findings, published in the journal Stroke, are based on the same group of 48 patients the researchers reported on in September, in the journal Neurorehabilitation and Neural Repair, where they suggested stroke patients who were most severely affected by a stroke also gained the most from the machines after three months of therapy.....Next