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Ongoing Research

Community-based group aquatic program for individuals with multiple sclerosis: a pilot study

Yasser Salem, Anne Hiller Scott, Herbert Karpatkin, George Concert, Leah Haller, Eva Kaminsky, Rivky Weisbrot and Eugene Spatz

Purpose. The purpose of this study was to determine the feasibility of providing a community-based aquatic exercise program and to examine the effects of a group aquatic exercise program in individuals with multiple sclerosis. This study illustrates the implementation of a multidisciplinary community-based program in a university community wellness centre coordinated with a local advocacy group.

Method. Eleven subjects with multiple sclerosis participated in a 5-week community-based aquatic exercise program. Aquatic exercises were held twice weekly for 60 minutes and included aerobic exercises, strength training, flexibility exercises, balance training and walking activities. The 10-Metre Walk test, the Berg Balance Scale (BBS), the ‘Timed Up and Go’ (TUG) test, grip strength and the Modified Fatigue Impact Scale were used to assess motor function.

Results. Analysis of the scores demonstrated improved gait speed, BBS, TUG test and grip strength. The average attendance of the training sessions was good (88%), and no incidence of injuries, no incidence of falls and no adverse effects related to the exercise program were reported. All participants reported that they enjoyed the program, and they had improved after the training.

Conclusions. A community-based aquatic exercise program is feasible and resulted in improvement in motor functions of individuals with multiple sclerosis. These findings indicate that an aquatic training program is appropriate and beneficial for individuals with multiple sclerosis and should be considered to augment the rehabilitation of those individuals. This program may provide a viable model for a community-based wellness program for people with disability including individuals with multiple sclerosis.

Parkinson’s Fitness Group

Background and Purpose: Aerobic and strengthening exercise has shown benefits for people with Parkinson’s disease (PD) based on highly structured, short-term, clinical protocols. This study extended previous research by investigating feasibility of an ongoing, community-based, group exercise program for people with PD, including reports of short-term (10 weeks) and long-term (14 months) data. Methods: Twenty people with PD (Hoehn and Yahr stages I to III) participated in at least one of four 10-week sessions. Classes were held twice weekly for 1 hour and included aerobic, strength, flexibility and balance exercises. Evaluations were done one week before and after each session. PD signs and symptoms were measured with Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale - Motor Scale (UPDRS-M). Gait speed, six-minute walk test (6MWT), "Timed Up & Go" (TUG), and grip strength were used to assess physical function. Short-term results were based on 18 participants (2 dropped out prior to post-test), and long-term results on 8 participants who started in the first session continued through the 14 month period. Results: Attendance rates were moderate to high (68% across the 4 sessions). No injuries were reported. Paired t-tests based on each participant's first 10-week session demonstrated significant improvements in UPDRS-M, 6MWT, and bilateral grip strength. Paired t-tests for the long-term participants demonstrated significant improvements in the same measures. Gait speed and TUG did not change significantly in the short- or long-term. Conclusions: Our community-based, group, exercise program was safe, feasible, and potentially effective, suggesting a promising health and wellness intervention for people with PD.

Functional Abilities of Grandparent Caregivers

Katherine Dimitropoulou, Ann Burkhardt and Anne Scott

The purpose of this study is to understand the functional abilities of grandparent caregivers and to depict their concerns and difficulties in their care-giving roles. Data has been collected from 20 grandparents and is in the process of being analyzed. Preliminary findings suggest that grandparents have a high level of functionality and are in good health. The only concern grandparents expressed was the ability to carry out activities related to play. Specifically, grandparents often report that they need help to be able to take their grandchildren to the playground. They often utilize the support of other family members to carry out these tasks. Data is continuously being processed.

The HPV and Cervical Cancer Connection: Exploring the Knowledge, Attitudes, and Beliefs among African American and Caribbean American Women

Elizabeth Kudadjie-Gyamfi and Jessy Pierre-Louis

This project is an exploratory work that is designed to gather and to examine information regarding the differences in HPV and cervical cancer knowledge, attitudes and beliefs among African American subpopulations, including those individuals of African-Caribbean descent. The study focuses on issues such as reproductive and gynecological health, knowledge of risk factors for HPV and cervical cancer, usage of pap smears, coping styles and cancer concern among African American and Caribbean women. Hence, the project will advance knowledge in health prevention and wellness techniques that will help to identify effective outreach efforts for ethnically diverse women who are at risk fof developing cervical cancer. The study is being conducted among African American and Caribbean women at Long Island University’s Brooklyn Campus. A total of 150 women will be recruited for the study; data collection is ongoing.

Measurement of Physical Activity using Accelerometers

Marshall Hagins, Evangelos Pappas, David Spierer and Andrew Rundle

Accurate measurement of the amount of physical activity is of primary importance when determining the relationships between physical activity and health. New technologies that measure physical activity are being introduced in the marketplace continuously and need to be independently evaluated for reliability and validity. Marshall Hagins, Ph.D., PT and Evangelos Pappas, Ph.D., PT, from the Brooklyn Campus Division of Physical Therapy; David Spierer, Ed.D., from the Brooklyn Campus Division of Sports Sciences and Andrew Rundle, Ph.D. from the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University, are currently investigating the reliability and validity of two new devices in the marketplace –the Actiheart™ and the Actical® using the resources of the Brooklyn Campus Health & Wellness Institute. These are small, watch-sized devices, worn on the waist or on the chest, that measure acceleration of the body. The Actiheart™ also measures heart rate. The ability of the devices to accurately measure energy expenditure is being examined using the K4b2 – a gold standard measurement in the industry, that uses measures of oxygen and carbon dioxide to determine how much energy is being expended.

Not One More Life’ in Brooklyn Faith-Based Communities

Ellen Becker and Elaine Sarfati

Many Brooklyn residents have frequent asthma symptoms or symptoms severe enough to require emergency room visits or a stay in the hospital. The current medical system does not allow health care providers to spend enough time teaching patients how to decrease breathing problems caused by asthma. The ‘Not One More Life’ asthma program works with communities of faith. At each event, individuals learn that they should not have any breathing problems if their asthma is under control. They also learn that good communication with their doctor is needed to find the best way to avoid breathing problems. Individuals answer questions about their asthma symptoms and take a breathing test. These results are reviewed with a doctor who may suggest a follow-up appointment if their results are not normal. Individuals with breathing problems will be contacted by telephone several times after the event to offer further help and answer questions. This pilot program will evaluate whether attending a ‘Not One More Life’ event decreases asthma symptoms.

Do You Know Someone Who is Trying to Cope with Lupus?

Volunteers are needed for a research study examining the effect of an aquatic program on quality life. Read more here.

Validity of New Heart Rate Monitor Technology

The purpose of the study entitled Validity of the Omron HR 500U is to determine how well a device worn on your wrist (like a watch), measures heart rate, caloric expenditure and the distance traveled when exercising. The HR 500U wristwatch measures heart rate through the use of a non-invasive technique that detects pulse through the measurement of blood flow via plethysmography. To get accurate measures of heart rate and caloric expenditure, participants were asked to wear several devices. The Omron HR 500U and the Mio Alpha (a similar device already on the market) were worn on either wrist. An Actical® (a validated device to measure energy expenditure) was worn on the right hip. A heart rate monitor, the Polar RS400 which consists of an elastic chest strap and a wrist-watch was worn on the chest and a participants wore a small box, battery pack and face-mask like a backpack to help collect information about the amount of calories expended during exercise. The equipment setup is depicted in Figure 1. During the study subjects completed 7 activities while wearing these devices, each for 6 minutes. Activities included resting, light weight lifting (shoulder press and bicep curl), treadmill walking for 5 minutes, treadmill jogging for 5 minutes, elliptical exercise for 5 minutes, stair stepping for 5 minutes and stationary cycling for 5 minutes. All of the activities were carried out at a self-selected pace. To date 50 participants were studied. The data is currently being analyzed and the hope is that there will be two publications that will be the result of this collection. This study also marks the first time a relationship has been forged with LIU and Omron Healthcare. In this way, this study may open the door to many projects with Omron Healthcare down the road. The study is being carried out by Associate Professor, David K. Spierer, Assistant Professor, Amergo Rossi and Adjunct Professor, Alicia Mai from the Division of Athletic Training, Health and Exercise Science. The study is being conducted in collaboration with Omron Healthcare, Inc.