Former Police Officer Overcomes Debilitating Effects of Stroke Through Physical Therapy with ATI

By Brian Rog with Contributions by Abby Persicketti for ATI Physical Therapy

Steve Deckelman (third from right) huddles with the ATI Physical Therapy crew who helped him through his treatment

What expectations did you have going into therapy?

Steve: My PT treatment gave me a sense of worth. The entire staff made me feel welcomed from day one; almost as if I was part of a big family. This really made a difficult and scary situation much easier for me to manage.  From day one, they were not easy on me, but firm.  I realized it was up to me to do the hard work, of course with their professional guidance, so I wouldn’t hurt myself.  I worked tirelessly, and each of the above-mentioned staff cheered me on, so I never got discouraged.  As my health progressed, their encouragement lifted my spirits and gave me even more desire to push myself.

What was your treatment like? Was it tougher or easier than you expected?

Steve: I had to relearn my balance and how to walk again, so PT was an exhausting three times a week. The hand therapy side had me relearning very basic fine motor skills by incorporating exercises that were specific to my needs and progressions. This had a huge impact in my success. Throughout my treatment, I fought like hell because even though it was very, very difficult, I did not want to let the staff down.

At what point during your treatment did you start noticing a difference in your health and physical strength?

Steve: I would say after a few weeks, and with the little signs of observable progression, it gave me even more determination to fight harder. The more I showed improvement, the harder I wanted to try, and the more I wanted to encourage others around me to join in.

In what ways has physical therapy helped you in your daily life?

Steve: It gave me hope that you CAN bounce back from a life changing event such as a stroke.  I apply this learning to my daily life, and continue to give my all no matter what I’m doing.  The level of motivation I received at the Morris West clinic, under Dave’s tutelage, was the real winner here. Without them, I’m not sure where I’d be.

How have things been since graduating from your PT treatment?

Steve: I’ve kept up on my program, and continue to be positive about my physical conditions. As a retired police officer, I always had great physical abilities, which have been diminished by the stroke. But ATI gave me hope, and a chance at a new beginning by helping me get some of my physical function back. They are truly my heroes. For those reading this, if you or anyone you know has/is dealing with the aftermath of a stroke, I highly recommend giving ATI a chance.


 On the opposite side of the treatment table, ATI specialists Dave James, MS, ATC, and Stephanie Rodriguez, PT, DPT share their perspectives on Steve’s progressions and efforts throughout his treatment.

What stood out about Steve during his treatment?

Stephanie:  Steve had such a dignified attitude, commitment, and courtesy towards our team and other patients in the clinic.

Dave:  Steve was such a riot to have in the clinic.  He always made other people laugh and smile with his sense of humor. His determination was exceptional. He never gave up and was always positive.

What do you feel were the keys to Steve’s treatment successes?

Stephanie:  With Steve, it was important to continually address patient-centered goals and make each treatment session fun.

Dave:  I agree with Stephanie, but I’d also add that his determination and positivity really drove his success.  I can’t stress that enough.  He was so determined to conquer anything that we gave him to do, and conquer he did!

Given Steve’s high-energy personality, we want to hear some of the memorable moments through his treatment?

Stephanie: Aside from Steve’s infectious “can-do” attitude, I’ll never forget the time when he said that the wall on “PT” side of the clinic should be painted with Harley flames.

Dave:  Initially, Steve was being seen for OT and PT, so his commitment to time in therapy was great. He was very positive through both courses of treatment.  At times, he would say, “I don’t know if I can do it, but I am sure going to try”, so that should give you an idea of the warrior Steve is. Adding to that, his genuine appreciation for when he was finished with therapy, his gratitude, and level of sincerity were a true inspiration for all of us. This is what it’s all about!

10 Reasons To Go For A Walk Right Now

On an average day, 30 percent of American adults walk for exercise and with good reason. Walking doesn’t require special equipment or athletic skills, yet it offers a host of health benefits — from helping you lose weight and lifting your mood to controlling diabetes and lowering your blood pressure. In fact, a study published in the journal PLoS Medicine showed that adding 150 minutes of brisk walking to your routine each week can add 3.4 years to your lifespan.

Here are 10 surprising ways to use walking to boost your health, along with tips to make starting and sticking to a walking routine more fun.

1. Walk to Manage Your Weight
Avoiding weight gain might be as simple as taking a walk. Researchers at Harvard University and Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston followed more than 34,000 normal-weight women for more than 13 years. They found that, over time, the women who ate a standard diet and walked for an hour a day (or did some other similar moderate-activity exercise) were able to successfully maintain their weight.

Fun fitness tip: Buddy up for fitness — walk with a friend, neighbor, or a four-legged pal. A study published in the Journal of Physical Activity & Health found that dog-owners walked more each week and were more likely to reach the recommended levels of physical activity than those who do not own dogs.

2. Walk to Get Blood Pressure in Line
A heart-pumping walking routine can help lower your blood pressure, studies show. A study conducted at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory found that moderate-intensity walking was just as effective as jogging at lowering risk of high blood pressure.

Fun fitness tip: Can’t find a full 30 minutes to walk? Spread it out throughout your day — 10 minutes here and 10 minutes there will add up if you stick with it. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, breaking your workout into several shorter workouts throughout the day is just as effective as one longer workout session, while also making it easier to fit exercise into your schedule.

3. Walk to Protect Against Dementia
Walking, which improves cerebral blood flow and lowers the risk of vascular disease, may help you stave off dementia, the cognitive loss that often comes with old age. According to the 2014 World Alzheimer’s Report, regular exercise is one of the best ways to combat the onset and advancement of the disease. In addition, researchers at the University of Pittsburgh conducted brain scans on seniors and found that walking at least six miles a week was linked to less brain shrinkage.

Fun fitness tip: Download upbeat music you love to listen to on your iPod, and take it with you while you walk. An analysis conducted by the American Council on Exercise found that music not only makes exercise more enjoyable, but it can also boost endurance and intensity.

4. Walk to Prevent Osteoarthritis
Walking is a great form of weight-bearing exercise, which helps prevent the bone-thinning condition osteoporosis, as well as osteoarthritis, the degenerative disease that causes joint pain, swelling and stiffness. Researchers from the University of California, San Francisco, found that people who participated in moderate aerobic activities such as walking have the healthiest knees because walking can help maintain healthy cartilage.

Fun fitness tip: Reward yourself. After you stick to your new walking routine for a few weeks, treat yourself to a new pair of shoes, a manicure, or something else that will keep you motivated.

5. Walk to Reduce Cancer Risk
Walking may reduce your chances of developing some cancers. Research published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention found that women who walked at least seven hours per week were 14 percent less likely to develop breast cancer. Similarly, a study conducted by scientists at the University of California, San Francisco and Harvard University, found that men who were treated for prostate cancer and who walked briskly at least three hours a week reduced their chances of a recurrence.

Fun fitness tip: Explore. Try a new route around the neighborhood, pick a different trail at the park, or go walking in a new location altogether to keep it interesting.

6. Walk to Prevent or Control Diabetes
Brisk walking can help prevent and manage diabetes. “A 20- to 30-minute walk can help lower blood sugar for 24 hours,” says Tami Ross, RD, LD, a spokesperson for the American Association of Diabetes Educators. Plus, The Diabetes Prevention Program, a major government study, found that even a small weight loss — for example, 10 to 15 pounds for a 200-pound person — can delay and possibly prevent the onset of the disease. Adding a brisk walk to your daily routine is one of the easiest ways to reach and maintain a healthy weight.

Fun fitness tip: Dress for the occasion. A good pair of walking shoes and comfortable clothes that are easy to move in are essential for a successful workout.

7. Walk to Lower Your Heart Disease Risk
Walking may help lower your cholesterol and, in turn, your risk for heart disease. According to the American Heart Association, walking just 30 minutes per day can lower your risk for heart disease and stroke. And since regular walking can keep cholesterol and blood pressure in check, it is a great way to boost your overall heart health.

Fun fitness tip: Challenge yourself to walk more steps every day and make fitness more fun, by using a pedometer or other fitness tracking device to chart your progress. You can set new step goals each week and even join challenges with friends and family to motivate yourself to get moving.

8. Walk to Improve Your Mood
A brisk walk can boost your mood and may even help you treat depression. A Portuguese study published in the Journal of Psychiatric Research found that depressed adults who walked for 30 to 45 minutes five times a week for 12 weeks showed marked improvements in their symptoms when medication alone did not help.

Fun fitness tip: Get outdoors! When the weather permits, take your walk outside, for a dose of vitamin D and an even bigger mood boost. Research published in the journal Ecopsychology revealed that group walks in nature were associated with significantly lower depression and perceived stress, as well as enhanced mental well-being.

9. Walk to Reduce Pain
It might seem counterintuitive, but to reduce pain from arthritis, start moving. Research shows that walking one hour per day can help reduce arthritis pain and prevent disability. The study, published in Arthritis Care & Research, determined that 6,000 steps was the threshold that predicted who would go on to develop disabilities or not. Plus, a recent study found that walking significantly improved mobility loss among patients with peripheral artery disease (PAD), a condition where clogged arteries in the legs can cause pain and fatigue while walking.

Fun fitness tip: Add some healthy competition to your walk. As you move down the sidewalk or trail, imagine the people in front of you are rungs on a ladder. Then, focus on walking fast enough to overtake them one by one.

10. Walk to Reduce Stroke Risk
A large, long-term study reported in Stroke, a journal of the American Heart Association, found that women who walked at a brisk pace for exercise had a much lower chance of having a stroke than those who didn’t walk. Researchers credit this to walking’s ability to help lower high blood pressure, which is a strong risk factor for stroke.

Fun fitness tip: Join or start a regular walking club with friends or coworkers and make fun fitness plans for your outings. Recent research published in the British Journal of Sports and Medicine found that participants were enthusiastic, less tense and generally more relaxed after regular, organized walking groups.

By Beth W. Orenstein for Huffington Post

MAKE BRAIN HEALTH A PRIORITY

brain health

Brain health is as important as your overall physical health. Here’s why…

As your brain ages, it becomes less efficient at utilizing glucose as an energy source. This defect in energy conversion starves your brain of nourishment and weakens its ability to withstand normal oxidative stress from free radicals.

As a result, you are more susceptible to neurodegenerative disorders and you can run the risk of developing dementia.

KETONES TO THE RESCUE! 

Ketones are designed to fuel the brain and other peripheral organs during reduced carbohydrate diets when blood glucose levels are low. Normally, your brain primarily derives its energy from glucose, but when ketosis is induced, up to 75% of energy requirements can be obtained through the production of ketones.

MCTs leads to substantially more ketones in the blood (compared to LCTs), making the fatty acids a critical substance for a healthy brain.

Studies show a state of ketosis may help prevent and provide symptomatic relief to a wide variety of brain disorders:

  • ALS
  • Alzheimer’s Disease and dementia
  • Autism
  • Huntington’s Disease
  • Parkinson’s Disease
  • Traumatic brain injury

Ketones have been found to reduce Alzheimer’s-type plaque in the brain.

In clinical studies, Alzheimer’s patients who consumed a beverage with MCTs compared to one without MCTs, scored significantly better on cognitive tests.

In other studies, ketosis has led to:

  • improved performance on visual-spatial memory tasks
  • increased ability of learning tasks
  • enhanced short-term memory

Ketones trigger the activation of specialized proteins called brain-derived neurotrophic factors (BDNFs) that aid in brain cell maintenance, repair, and protection. BDNFs also stimulate the growth of new brain cells to replace dead or dying cells, allowing some mental function restoration.

CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT MCT

The Runner’s High

By Dev Mishra, M.D., President, Sideline Sports Doc, Clinical Assistant Professor of, Orthopedic Surgery, Stanford University

Key Points:

  • When your body comes under stress or experiences pain, neurochemicals called endorphins and endocannabinoids are produced in the brain. This happens in all age groups.
  • Endorphins and endocannabinoids are considered natural painkillers because they activate receptors in the brain that help minimize discomfort
  • These brain chemicals are naturally produced as a result of exercise and are likely responsible for the feeling called “a runner’s high”

Whether you’re a young athlete or an adult, many of you have experienced a post-workout high. People love the feeling so much that “endorphin junkie” has even become synonymous with someone who’s constantly chasing that exercise high.

When your body experiences physical or even emotional stress, neurochemicals called endorphins are produced in the brain. Endorphins, which are structurally similar to the drug morphine, are considered natural painkillers because they activate receptors in the brain that help minimize discomfort. They can also help bring about feelings of euphoria and general well being.

The idea that exercise creates a huge endorphin rush entered popular culture soon after endorphins were discovered around 40 years ago. The legendary Dr. Jim Fixx started America’s running revolution back in the 1970’s, and there was thinking that endorphins could play a big role in the psychological benefits of running and exercise. But no one really knew for sure.

The problem with jumping to the conclusion that endorphins cause your “exercise high” is that in large-scale studies, scientists measure endorphins present in the blood — not the brain. Then, they make the assumption that if endorphin levels rise in the blood, then it must be because of an increase of endorphins in the brain. It’s a logical assumption but the reality is a bit more complex.

In fact, a German study found that, while endorphin levels are higher after a run, the real brain chemicals responsible for the runner’s high are called “endocannabinoids”. These substances are similar to the key chemical in marijuana. At least that’s true in running mice, who kindly volunteered for the study…

So if you aren’t an endorphin junkie, then what are you? You’re probably an endocannabinoid junkie! That just doesn’t have the same nice ring to it though, does it?

Regardless of what the actual reason is for the good feelings after exercise, the point is that you need to just get out and do something. It’s good for what ails you.

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TISSUE BANK EMPLOYEE REFLECTS ON SECOND CHANCE AT HEALTHY LIFE THANKS TO THE GIFT OF DONATION

SARAH – RECIPIENT OF: JUVENILE CARTILAGE ALLOGRAFT

It was the holidays and Sarah was a young professional excited about her new job in the finance department of a large Denver company. Fun-loving and outgoing, Sarah was happy to offer up her talents for the playful “Stupid Human Tricks” competition at the company’s annual year end party.

Sarah’s trick was a squirm-inducing move she’d been doing since she was a little girl: rising up on her tiptoes, she would rotate her feet until her toes were pointing straight behind her body, with her legs still together. But the trick didn’t go smoothly this time.

“My ankle popped; I thought I broke it,” Sarah said. “The pain was so bad. It was horrible.”

During an initial trip to the doctor, Sarah’s injury was misdiagnosed as a sprain. She went home hoping it would heal on its own. For the next several years Sarah tried to deal with the pain, but her ankle was never the same. The injury began to take a serious toll on her active lifestyle: she could no longer do the things she loved, including skiing and running. She would push herself to play team sports like kickball, but be miserable from the pain for days afterwards.

An eventual trip to an ankle specialist revealed what Sarah already had a suspicion of: her injury was much more serious than a sprain. In fact, the peroneal tendon on the outside of her foot was torn, and worse, a large portion of the cartilage on her ankle joint had torn off. Although her tendon was repaired with a surgery, initial attempts to heal the joint were unsuccessful. Sarah had lost too much cartilage, a tissue the body is incapable of reproducing.

Sarah’s doctor suggested treatment with an autograft, whereby bone and cartilage from her own knee would be transplanted into the injured ankle. As luck would have it, by now Sarah was working for one of the nation’s premier tissue banks, AlloSource. Here she had become aware of the tissue transplantation process. Sarah knew that although frequently used to treat injuries, autografts could lead to other complications: in her case the potential for infection in her healthy knee, a slower recovery from two surgeries and more.

Sarah urged her doctor to consider an allograft transplant, a gift of life from a deceased donor. The decision was made to use one of the newer allografts available thanks to new science: juvenile cartilage.

These grafts, bravely donated by the families of donors just one month to 12 years old, had been found to stimulate new cartilage growth when implanted with stem cells.

Following her tissue transplant, Sarah’s results have been miraculous. After a final surgery in December 2010, her doctors found that cartilage is indeed regenerating in Sarah’s ankle.

“It’s fascinating to see this cartilage regrowing,” Sarah said. And she is able to feel the benefits already.

“I can ski again and it doesn’t hurt. I’ve started to wear high heels again; I haven’t worn high heels for years! It feels really good.”

Her work at a tissue bank has heightened Sarah’s respect for her second chance at a healthy life:

“I have had the opportunity to see it from the perspective that everyone should see it from; I have interacted with donor families and really comprehend that this is a gift of life that somebody else gave to me because they lost their own.”

Sarah also reports a stronger kinship with her colleagues at AlloSource, who work 24/7 to process donated human tissue into allografts used for a host of surgical applications around the country.

“Processing these allografts is tedious and includes a lot of hard work. I’ve been able to thank the techs I work with for what they do every day.”