In our regular round-up of research that's relevant to physiotherapy staff, Janet Wright looks at the latest research news
Physiotherapy Journal is making an impact. Latest figures show that studies published in the CSP’s journal – available free of charge to all members – are being used and cited by more researchers than ever before.
Physiotherapy rose to twelfth place out of 62 journals in the rehabilitation category this year, from 23rd last year.
Citation rankings are drawn up on the basis of each journal’s ‘impact factor’ – the amount of use people are making of the studies it publishes.
Physiotherapy’s impact factor rose from 1.570 last year to 2.106 last month.
A journal’s impact factor is the number of times its papers have been cited in other publications during a year, divided by the number of papers it has published during the previous two years.
Published every year in Journal Citation Reports, it is one of the main measures of a journal’s status in the academic community.
‘The editorial board are delighted with the continuing increase in the journal’s impact factor, which is a clear indication of the success of Physiotherapy,’ says editor Michele Harms.
‘This is largely due to the continuing rise in the quality of manuscripts submitted, combined with the focus and hard work of the editorial board and the reviewers.’
A high impact factor shows that a journal is publishing research that interests other researchers. That prompts more people to read and refer to the journal, making more researchers compete to get their work into it.
This in turn gives editors the chance to choose the highest-quality studies, further increasing the standing of the journal – and of the professional body associated with it. Journal Citation Reports.
New pelvic-floor programme shows dramatic results
Polish physiotherapists have reported good results in men left with urinary incontinence after surgery.
Elzbieta Rajkowska-Labon of the Institute of Physiotherapy at Gdansk Medical University and colleagues studied 81 patients aged 53-82, who had undergone operations for prostate cancer.
The first group were given pelvic floor muscle training with biofeedback once a week for 20-30 minutes, and were taught exercises to do at home three times a day. In addition, they had half an hour a week of pelvic floor muscle training on spinal segmental stabilisation (SSS) principles – a method better known for back care in the West.
The second group received two half-hourly sessions a week of the pelvic floor muscle training on SSS principles, without biofeedback. They were also given the exercises to do at home.
Both groups had one-to-one sessions with the same physio each time, and continued treatment for up to a year if necessary.
The third group of men had no treatment.
By the end of the trial, 39 per cent of the first group and 92 per cent of the second group had cured their incontinence. Those starting treatment in the first three months after their prostatectomy had the best chance of success, the authors noted. Only 12.5 per cent of the control group regained continence.
‘Good neuromuscular coordination appears to be of immense importance for normal pelvic floor muscle function,’ say the authors.
‘The findings of the present study show that a physiotherapy programme can improve or fully restore continence,’ they conclude. Rajkowska-Labon E et al. Efficacy of Physiotherapy for Urinary Incontinence following Prostate Cancer Surgery. BioMed Research International 2014.
One in three cases of Alzheimer’s could be prevented if people followed healthy-living guidelines such as controlling weight and blood pressure, giving up smoking, tackling depression and above all staying physically active, say researchers. Diabetes and low educational attainment are also risk factors. Norton S et al. Lancet Neurology 2014
Children who survive cancer are at greater than normal risk of developing metabolic syndrome, which then raises their risk of heart disease and diabetes. A study of 1598 survivors has found that those who followed lifestyle guidelines – keeping their weight down, staying physically active and eating a healthy diet rich in fruit and veg – were less than half as likely as others to develop metabolic syndrome. Smith WA et al. Cancer 2014.
Women with fibromyalgia who took vitamin D supplements for 20 weeks had a marked reduction in pain, a small randomised controlled trial of 30 women found. Wepner F et al. Pain 2014.
Many children with non-inflammatory musculoskeletal pain have some joint hypermobility, but the level of hypermobility is not necessarily related to the amount of pain or restriction. So interventions may need to focus on other factors. Bale PJ et al. Rheumatology 2014.
Men over 65 who took statins were less physically active and spent more time sitting than others, researchers have found, noting that muscle weakness and fatigue are common side effects of the cholesterol-reducing drugs. Of the 5994 men they studied, 24 per cent took statins.
Lee DSH et al. JAMA Internal Medicine 2014.
Excess weight increases a person’s risk of developing 10 of the most common cancers, and is linked with more than 12,000 cases of cancer a year in the UK. Bhaskaran K et al. Lancet 2014
For lower-back pain, paracetamol is no better than a placebo at relieving discomfort, improving sleep or speeding recovery, a trial of 1652 people found. Williams CM et al. Lancet 2014.
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