You thought walking would keep your spine strong, but…

Dr. Dafne Zuleima Morgado Ramirez is based at the Interaction Centre (UCLIC) at University College London and is a member of the Global Disability Innovation Hub. She tweets at @zuleimamorgado. She has recently published work in Age and Ageing journal.

Walking has been promoted as a way of reducing the risk and progression of osteoporosis. Yet clinical studies have shown that walking does not increase bone mineral density at the spine unless it is performed along with other physical activities, and that even then, improvement is minimal. Physical activity produces vibration that is transmitted from the feet up to the head through the body. Although there is clear evidence that bone formation and resorption are responsive to mechanical stimulation, such as vibration, currently there is limited understanding of the vibration that is transmitted through the lumbar and thoracic spine during walking. Continue reading

Bone health in older people: new Age and Ageing collection brings together leading research

aaA new collection of research published today by Age and Ageing, the scientific journal of the British Geriatrics Society, brings together some of the leading international research on bone health in older people.

Thirteen key papers were chosen for their originality and influence, with more than 350 citations in peer reviewed journals. They cover topics including kyphosis and vertebral fracture, predictors of fracture risk, frailty, environmental factors and exercise.

Continue reading

July issue of Age & Ageing now available

(This is a corrected version of a blog published last week) 

The July 2015 issue of Age and Ageing, the journal of the British Geriatrics Society is out now!

A full table of contents is available here, with editorials, research papers, reviews, short reports, case reports book reviews and more. Hot topics this issue include:

  • Pharmacotherapy for type 2 diabetes
  • Exercise regimens and bone health
  • Balance training for in-patient rehabilitations
  • What are frailty instruments for?
  • Oestrogen replacement in postmenopausal women

The Editor’s View can be read here.

This issue’s free access papers are:

New research highlights unseen dangers of pelvic fracture

A new study published in Age & Ageing finds pelvic fracture mortality rates equivalent to those for hip fracture, despite lack of attention or funding.  shutterstock_53196796

The study into osteoporotic pelvic fractures in older patients has shown worrying effects on mortality, length of hospital stay and independent living.
It finds that mortality rates for pelvic fractures are comparable to those for hip fractures, but that the issue receives far less attention or funding. It calls for new guidelines and better management of pelvic fractures in older people, helping them to maintain an independent life.

Yousif Shanshal and Sheena Waters, co-authors of the report, said:

“Pelvic fracture patients incur a high cost to an already stretched NHS, with increased lengths of stay and high mortality rates. They are usually frail elderly patients with multiple comorbidities, and often don’t regain normal function after their injury.

Following the work of the National Hip Fracture Database and the Best Practice Tariff, care for hip fracture patients has improved across the country. We now need to do the same thing for pelvic fracture patients.

It’s crucial that these patients are cared for by a geriatrician, in close liaison with their orthopaedic colleagues, and that a multi-disciplinary team is fully involved in each patient’s recovery and discharge.”

Continue reading

Good Vibrations: whole body vibration treatment

Falls are common in older people and are the direct cause of many osteoporotic fractures. There are limited treatments available to help frail older people who are at risk of falls. A study funded by the National Osteoporosis Society and the British Geriatrics Society on the potential benefits of whole body vibration for frail older people has now been published in Age and Ageing.shutterstock_83367871

The collaborative work between the University of Loughborough and Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust showed that older people attending a falls prevention programme are able to tolerate whole body vibration.

Patients were recruited at The Nottingham University Hospitals Rehabilitation Unit and all of them took part in the NICE recommended falls prevention programme, which includes exercise. They were split at random into three groups. One group used a vibration platform that moved vertically up and down; one used a vibration platform with a “see-saw” action and one group stood upon a stationary platform whilst a buzzing noise was played so that they thought they were receiving vibration (sham vibration). The vibration training involved visiting the unit three times per week over 12 weeks, and standing on the plate during several short bouts of vibration, for a maximum of 6 minutes in total. Continue reading

Who is at greatest risk of dying after a broken hip?

Toby Smith is a Lecturer in Physiotherapy at the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of East Anglia. His recent paper published in Age and Ageing has identified those people who are at greatest risk of dying following a broken hip. He tweets at @tobyosmith.shutterstock_158328935

Hip fracture is a major challenge for health services worldwide, and can be catastrophic for the individual who experiences it, in addition to their friends, family and carers. The consequences of a broken hip can range from physical disability through reduced mobility and loss of independence, to death. It has been estimated that approximately 25% to 40% of people following a hip fracture die within the first 12 months after their injury. This has been, in part, attributed to the fact that many of these people are older and have numerous medical conditions which place them at greater risk of death irrespective of their hip fracture.

Given this high risk and the large number of people who experience a hip fracture annually, our team aimed to identify characteristics which could predict who would be at greatest risk of dying following a hip fracture. Continue reading

What can older people tell us about their experiences of therapeutic exercise as part of a falls prevention service?

Janet Husk is a Patient Safety and Quality Improvement Manager at the Clinical Effectiveness and Evaluation Unit of the Royal College of PhysiciansFallsService

The answer is a great deal as you can see in this article on ‘older people’s experiences of therapeutic exercise’ – available online in Age and Ageing. Don’t think it was just  younger people (55 to 74 years) that responded; some people that completed a questionnaire were over 95 years of age which just goes to show that people of all ages were exercising and  were able to give important feedback about their experiences of NHS run therapeutic exercise programmes to reduce falls. Continue reading

Stressful life events significantly raise the risk of falls in older men

A study of around 5,000 older men has shown that stressful life events such as death of a loved one, or serious financial problems, significantly raised the risk of falls in the year following the incident. The research is published online today in the journal Age and Ageing.shutterstock_68989549

Dr Howard A. Fink of the VA Medical Center in Minneapolis and colleagues conducted a study of 5,994 community-dwelling men over the age of 65 who were enrolled in the Osteoporotic Fractures in Men (MrOS) study in six locations across the United States. 5,125 participated in a second study visit and answered questions on stressful life events in the prior year. A further subset of 4,981 men reported complete data on falls for one year after the second visit. Continue reading