The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has partnered with the Department of Defense (DoD) to build a central database on traumatic brain injuries. Funded at $10 million over four years, the Federal Interagency Traumatic Brain Injury Research (FITBIR) database is designed to accelerate comparative effectiveness research on brain injury treatment and diagnosis. It will serve as a central repository for new data, link to current databases and allow valid comparison of results across studies.
Recent research by Michielsen and colleagues has demonstrated that “mirror therapy”, which can be given at home, results in significant, albeit modest, improvement in arm, wrist and hand movement abilities of stroke patients . Mirror therapy is where the arm with impaired movement is placed behind a mirror and the unimpaired arm is reflected in the mirror, giving the appearance to the patient that when the unimpaired arm is moved, the impaired arm is also moving.
In the largest stroke rehabilitation study ever conducted in the United States, stroke patients who had physical therapy at home improved their ability to walk just as well as those who were treated in a training program that requires the use of a body-weight supported treadmill device followed by walking practice.
The study, funded by the National Institutes of Health, also found that patients continued to improve up to one year after stroke, defying conventional wisdom that recovery occurs early and tops out at six months. In fact, even patients who started rehabilitation as late as six months after stroke were able to improve their walking.
The results of the study were announced last month at the American Stroke Association’s International Stroke Conference 2011 in Los Angeles. NIH’s National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) provided primary funding for the study.
As you or perhaps your parents get older, would you want to be at home when recovering from an illness? Would the choice between home rehabilitation or visits to a day hospital make a difference to your recovery and health? Which is cheaper for the healthcare services? A recent study published in the journal Health Technology Assessment (HTA) shows that home-based care in the United Kingdom is no worse than attendance at a day hospital for older adults .